Public education is headed for Armageddon. At least that is what most of my teacher friends are posting on Facebook.
The bane of their existence is HR 610, better known as the congressional bill to allow vouchers for Public Education. It also calls for the repeal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and limits the authority of the Department of Education. If the bill passes the Department of Education is authorized only to award block grants to qualified states.”
The bill establishes an education voucher program, so states can distribute block grant funds among local educational agencies based on the number of eligible children within a geographical area. To be eligible to receive a block grant, a state must: (1) comply with education voucher program requirements; and (2) make it lawful for parents of an eligible child to elect to enroll their child in any public or private elementary or secondary school in the state or to home school their child.
Most people in the public education racket hate vouchers. They hate giving parents and children a choice in their education. People with choices tend to hold service providers accountable. Educational administrators hate accountability.
The popular scare tactic is to warn of the demise of public education and claim the poor will be most affected. They are right in one thing: the poor will be affected by having the opportunity to choose a different school than the one they are forced to attend.
Lost in the hysteria is parents can still choose to send their child to a public school. It’s about parental choice and giving them the opportunity to send their children to a school that is better for their children. Think of it as the equivalent to Roe v. Wade. That was all about choice and so is this bill.
Children choose their college, why not primary and secondary education?
The next dire consequence they scream about is the loss of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a plan for children with special education needs that public schools design. Nowhere in the bill does it state special education programs are to be cut but why should the facts matter.
The hysteria stems from those profiting off special education programs fearing a loss of income. It’s not about the kids. It never was. It’s about their income. Parents can still send their special needs children to public schools or to other schools that offer special education programs that may be better.
And there is the rub. School administrators do not want public schools do not want to be known as schools for special needs kids nor do they want private schools to do a better job and take away their grant money. It’s the anti ying-yang.
If private schools do a better job of educating children public schools will lose “the good students.” That will leave special education. But if private schools do a better job with special education programs then parents will choose the better school for their child.
In fact, in President Trump’s budget blueprint he does not cut aid for special education and school districts for the poor.
Those in public education are going nuts trying to convince their friends that HR610 will dismantle public education. The bill does not do that but the government sure has destroyed it.
Another falsehood is the notion the bill will repeal the No Hungry Kids Act. The bill repeals a specified rule that established certain nutrition standards for the national school lunch and breakfast programs. It does not abolish the program.
However, another bill, HR899, will terminate the Department of Education on December 31, 2018. It gives the power back to the states where it belongs. I’m sure my teacher friends will say it is proof President Trump wants to end public education. No. He wants to eliminate the central, overhead bureaucracy and allow the states to manage their own public education.
But since when did facts ever stop his haters?