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WHAT DOES TRUE FREE MARKET EDUCATION LOOK LIKE?
PUBLIUS SPECIAL GUEST: Leigh Bortins, is the founder and chief visionary officer of Classical Conversations, which supports classical, Christian homeschoolers in all fifty states and in thirty foreign countries.
Universal Educational Vouchers is Not a Winning Policy
The GOP should abandon taxpayer funded school choice and focus on empowering parents and not expanding the state.
Exit polls show that three main groups vote for Democrats: single women, those with advanced degrees, and those on Welfare. Those who vote republican are men, married women and those who did not spend extra time in the Marxist indoctrination centers we call schools and colleges. A house divide will not stand, and you cannot defeat an idea by spreading it’s benefits yourself.
Marxism is as much about who controls the purse strings and the ideas that are directly taught. In short you can’t defeat the Marxism being taught in the school system by expanding that very Marxist funding to those who’ve opted out of the system. Universal, taxpayer funded, school choice is just taking the “men” and “married women” category and moving those voters into the “Welfare” category. Corey DeAngelis who is a spokesperson for Universal School Choice often cites Food Stamps as a good comparison for Universal School Choice. Who do those on food stamps generally vote for? Democrats.
Right now, about 10% of students are not in government funded K12 institutions. Universal taxpayer funded school vouchers will drive that number down. So, 10% of America is showing that you don’t need the government to receive an education. Imagine that universal school choice is enacted and now that number is less than 1% of students are dependent on the government for education. These students grow up and become voters. They will vote for UBI, single payer health care, and a host of other welfare programs, because they were educated through welfare. This policy normalized welfare for 99% of the population. Those students will not grow up and vote for conservatives. Universal taxpayer funded school vouchers will create dependency.
Republicans in swing states of Arizona, Michigan and Arizona ran on universal school choice, and the results were disastrous for the GOP. States where we could have easily picked up or defended Governorships and Senate seats were lost.
School Choice itself is an idea worth supporting but expanding the welfare state to do so in the form of Universal School Vouchers is not a winning message.
Many proponents of Universal taxpayer funded School Choice bills call Arizona the gold standard. If winning elections is something you’d like to do, then clearly it is gold for democrats, who picked up state-wide seats after enacting the law. It is still early, but some early results showed that less than 1% (about 4000 students) left the public school system while 10,000 joined the public welfare roll. Those signing up were middle class and higher and were already out the Marxist schools. Meanwhile prices for goods and services in Arizona are climbing, because of the “free money” entering the system.
For example, you are a school that has room for 100 students, and you charge $7000 a year in tuition and are generally full. Now that these students each get about $7000 in voucher money, the savvy administration will slowly increase their tuition to $14,000 over the next few years. They know the families get $7000 and they could already afford $7000.
I know a college President, who said that when he goes to funding and financing meetings with other colleges, they mostly talk about how they can get more government money and how they can use this to raise tuition. This is what will happen to K12 education if the government picks up a good portion of the check through universal taxpayer funded vouchers.
Ultimately taxpayer funded school vouchers will normalize welfare for everyone, creating a society dependent on the government. This will make it very difficult for conservatives to win elections. Prices will rise, and so more welfare will need to be doled out. Now the voters will be dependent on an expanding government, instead of a limited one. In the name and practice of good governance more and more control will be put on the funding. In the end the government will have expanded its control over the people.
The good news is we have true school choice in all 50 states. You can homeschool, send your kids to private school or a government institution. Conservatives should promote policies that lower true costs for families, help them keep more of their money in their own pocket, and encourage private and direct investment in education locally. That is a winning message, not just today, but for our future. The kids are depending on you, they are worth it.
ABOUT CC: Classical Conversations is a proven Christian homeschool program created by parents for parents. We do this through a Christ-centered and family-friendly approach to homeschooling that makes everything biblical and hospitable, focused on three simple key areas: Classical, Christian and Community
BIO: Leigh Bortins is an internationally acclaimed educator, perhaps best known for her ability to demystify the fundamental tools of learning. As a teacher, author, entrepreneur, and international speaker, Leigh is credited with helping to launch the home-centered learning education movement. Leigh is the chief visionary officer of Classical Conversations (CC), which she founded in 1997. CC supports classical, Christian homeschoolers in all fifty states and in thirty foreign countries.
In addition to earning a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, Leigh wrote her Doctor of Ministry thesis on church-based global education for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written several books, including The Core: The Foundations of a Classical Education, The Question: The Essentials of a Classical Education, and The Conversation: The Challenge of a Classical Education, a series that explores the classical trivium from a parent’s perspective. She has also authored curriculum and guides for parents and students, including The Math Map, a complete math curriculum for classical students of all ages.
Leigh and her husband, Rob, homeschooled their four sons in North Carolina when they weren’t traveling the globe on field trips. They enjoy watching their grandchildren as they become lifelong learners with their parents.
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