School Choice

19 Jan

A few years ago in Cobb County, GA a woman was charged with fraud for falsifying her address in order to have her child go to a particular school. If I remember correctly she was charged with 12 counts of fraud weighing in at 5 years a piece….all because this woman did not want her child going to a terrible school. Let’s get something straight here about the power of government in regards to the law in America.

The government has a unique power that we as citizens do not have. It is the power to use deadly force in order to accomplish its goals. We as American citizens can by law make use of deadly force, but it is limited to defending ourselves if our lives are in danger. The government has the ability to use force (deadly if necessary) to make a person comply. It can use force to accomplish its goals. In the case of the CobbCounty woman, the government was attempting to use force to keep her child confined to a particular school district. (On a side note, isn’t this the description of a hostage situation?)

Anytime a law is made in America, what we are actually doing is granting the government permission to use force to bring about justice if the law is broken. Here’s a hypothetical example. Let’s say the law states that I cannot drive my car while not wearing shoes, a policeman notices me get into my car to drive while I have no shoes on and later pulls me over for breaking the law of driving while not shoed. Let’s say the officer writes me a ticket and tells me to put my shoes on and I outright refuse to do it (just for the fun of it and to add extra unruliness, lets say I rip the ticket up and become belligerent). By law the officer can now pull me out of my car and arrest me for refusal to comply no? If I struggle with him, hit him, we fight, whatever it is….once I have crossed the threshold of breaking the law, it gives him permission to use force in order to accomplish the goal of convincing me to comply with the law. This is what takes place whenever we give the government permission to pass and enforce a law. I know that the shoe scenario is pretty dumb sounding, but any law even the small stupid sounding ones give government the permission to use force if you do not comply. Why do you think we call it ‘law enforcement’?

This brings us back around to this poor woman taking her child’s education seriously, and trying to ensure that her child could go to a good school. As far as I know in all of Georgia, what school your child will go to is decided by the state. Yes you have some influence as to where your child can go by where you live, but is it true freedom of choice in “the land of the free” if the government presents you with limited options to choose from? The government plays a large part in where your child will go to school. If you want your child to go to a particular school you have to move to the district that applies to that school. If you live in a crap school district and cannot afford a move to get your child into a better school district…then that’s just tough. The law says your child must go to a particular school……break that law and you could end up with jail time….simply for wanting better for your child.

Because of where I live, should government determine where I should shop for groceries? What if it’s a terrible grocery store that sells crap products and gives me crap customer service? Should the government be allowed to force me to stick with that terrible grocery store because of the specific district that I live in?  Should government be able to quite literally hold me hostage to a ‘grocery district’ and its grocery store if I can’t afford to move to a different geographic location? If this sounds like a crazy thing to do with groceries, then why on earth are we doing it with something as important and life shaping as the education of a child?

Why should the government tell me where I can and can’t send my child to school? This is a decision for parents to make. Parents are the closest contact in every way to a child. They know they’re child infinitely better than a government can know their child no? From dusk until dawn a parent sees their child and knows their wants and needs and their learning style along with their interests, so why should an outside, centralized entity miles away that knows absolutely nothing about their child, play such a large role in where the child goes to school? In order to have true freedom I think I should be able to drive my child 30 to 40 miles away to a different school if I feel like it is a better school and it has room for my child.

I’ve heard people that argue against school choice say things like; “but the bad schools will simply shut down, if there were school choice”… thought, isn’t this a good thing? Again in regards to car purchases….if you have a car that simply is not cutting it, that constantly gives you transmission problems, electrical problems, fuel injector problems, do you go back and buy the same car again? No, you get rid of it. You select one that runs better. Why not do that with schools? If schools in Atlanta, GA or WashingtonDC (from what I understand some schools in both these cities are pretty horrid) had to compete to give your child an excellent education or shut down, don’t you think the quality of education would improve? Why not let people have complete control over where their child goes, and for whatever reasons? Some parents may keep their child in a particular school because of convenience, proximity and so on, that’s fine. Other parents may actually use a school as a baby sitter rather than an educator, that’s fine too. Others may want the child to go to a school with a good reputation or other parents may want a religious or political emphasis to their child’s education. With all of those scenarios and factors, why not let the parent decide rather than taking this power of decision and handing it to the government?

Many politicians seem to consistently vote to keep school choice away from American schools….what schools do you really believe they are sending their children to? How many politicians do you think there are with children going to the City of Atlanta or Washington DC public schools? With the kind of money politicians make, do you really believe they are sending their children to public schools? I haven’t seen the numerical evidence, but I am going to make a guess and say no, they don’t send their kids to public schools. Why then do they confine us “regular people” literally by the threat of force (deadly if necessary) to go to schools decided by government school districts? Is this really freedom? This is the kind of thing I think about when I see Americans waving their flags on the 4th of July.

In the end the Cobb County woman was acquitted of the charges. The jury found that the penalties involved were simply too harsh to apply to a person who was simply seeking a better school for her child to attend. Kelly Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio was not as successful however.

I think one of the keys to bettering education in America is getting the Federal government out of education and then doing away with these hostage like school zones.


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