Posts Tagged ‘choice’
November 26th, 2012 at 6:30 pm
A Sooner State Win for School Choice

Rachel Sheffield of the Heritage Foundation shows the depths sunk to by opponents of school choice:

Last Tuesday, Oklahoma’s special-needs students received a pre-Thanksgiving win. The state’s Supreme Court ruled that two school districts that had challenged the legality of the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship Program—a voucher program for special-needs students—were out of line in bringing the lawsuit.

The school districts had challenged the scholarship program on the basis that it violated the state’s Blaine Amendment by allowing scholarship money to be used at religious schools. Other opponents of school choice programs have time and again brought similar claims to the courts.

Eric Baxter of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said that the Supreme Court’s decision in this case “is a great victory for both religious freedom and the disabled.”

“Let’s hope the school districts drop their paranoia that allowing disabled kids to go to a private religious school of their choice somehow creates an official state church for Oklahoma,” said Baxter. “The message from the Supreme Court today is unequivocal: These school districts should stop spending taxpayer dollars suing their most vulnerable students and focus on what they are supposed to be doing—teaching kids.”

Here, here!

No one seriously thinks that allowing a college freshman to spend taxpayer money on tuition at a religious university violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.  The same holds true when a high school senior attends a sectarian primary or secondary school.  That school choice opponents would try to deny disabled children the same freedom of choice available to able-bodied adults shows how badly the public sector wants to maintain its monopoly on students.

August 29th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
CATO: The Charter School Paradox?

Adam Schaeffer of the Cato Institute argues a provocative thesis about the effect of public charter schools:

How can charter schools spend less money on average than regular public schools and yet cost taxpayers more overall at the state level? How can charter schools increase educational options and diversity in the public school system and yet decrease options and diversity in education overall? And how can some charter schools outperform regular public schools on average and yet decrease achievement overall?

I call these outcomes the Charter School Paradox, but it is only a paradox if we take a very narrow view of the effects of charter schools. When we expand our perspective to include their effects on private education, we find that these seeming contradictions are really the unintended consequences of inadequate, public-sector-only reform. On average, charter schools may marginally improve the public education system, but in the process they are wreaking havoc on private education. Charter schools take a significant portion of their students from private schools, causing a drop in private enrollment, driving some schools entirely out of business, and thereby raising public costs while potentially diminishing competition and diversity in our education system overall.

Schaeffer’s commentary is based on a larger study published by Cato colleague Richard Buddin.

Some of the key findings of Buddin’s study are that public charters in urban areas draw one-fourth to one-third of their student bodies from private schools.  The direct cost of these private-to-public migrants is estimated to be $1.8 billion a year (as of 2008) in new spending.

According to Schaeffer and Buddin, unless education reformers enact “good private school choice reform, such as education tax credits,” expanding the number of public charter schools could “cannibalize the private sector, increase public costs, and decrease options and competition.”

Conservative governors like Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and others have been rightly praised for reforming their public education system by increasing the school choice options for parents.  Going forward, they and others would do well to continue pursuing policies that protect private education while improving its public counterpart.

August 5th, 2011 at 8:06 am
A Conservative Who Really is Pro CHOICE

Deroy Murdock throws the “pro-choice” label right back at the left. Wow. Good stuff.

October 5th, 2009 at 10:48 am
Shopping with Max Baucus
Posted by Print

Over the weekend, I had the misfortune of shopping in the same grocery store with the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus.  Senator Baucus is currently front-and-center in the debate over health care reform, and the bill that passes through his committee could be the final version that the President signs.


This was regrettably my second encounter with the senior Senator from Montana.  The first was on a flight out of Minneapolis.  The Senator, not surprisingly, was seated in first class.

During the Senator’s shopping experience I passed him in the wine section.  Chairman Baucus, like many shoppers, was in the French wine section of the store.  As capitalists, we can all appreciate the value of choice.  Senator Baucus believes that French wine is the best value for the price and no one should stop him from making that choice.  “Buy American” means little to Senator Baucus, even though his voting record might indicate otherwise.

For example, even though the Senator prefers choice in his wine purchasing, last week he denied Senator Ron Wyden’s health care free choice amendment from coming up for a vote in committee.  Senator Wyden’s amendment would have allowed consumers to shop across state lines for cheaper insurance.  For Senator Baucus, “choice for wine: yes; choice for health care: no, unless you’re paying me to vote otherwise.”

In addition, although Senator Baucus prefers foreign wine, he evidently doesn’t like foreign sugar.  In 2005, Senator Baucus voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).  CAFTA would have normalized trade relations with the Dominican Republic and other Central American countries, driving down prices for American consumers.  Yet, Senator Baucus chose to vote with the sugar industry in his home state of Montana (sugar beets) and deny consumers a chance to purchase lower-priced foreign imports.

So, when it comes to choice and competition, Senator Baucus enjoys the freedom of the market in his personal life, but he’ll do his best in Congress to ensure that you don’t have it in your life.  That’s hypocrisy, pure and simple.