- By Robert Bortins
As CEO of a Christian homeschool program, I could be positioned to rake in millions of dollars of new profit from this proposed funding program without serving any new clients. Like most other free-market educational options, I could raise prices considerably once access to “free money” flows into the education market. This is a crony capitalist’s dream.
Consequently, this is why I, a conservative, classically educated leader, thoroughly reject the naïve premise and policy being promoted by school choice advocates like Corey DeAngelis.
Have you heard about the $2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, the crashing quality of higher education, and the woke mob that controls it? Welcome to the unintended consequences of taxpayer funded higher education through Pell Grants and other funding mechanisms designed to give students more “choice” in their college selection. Without anticipating these self-evident consequences, universal school choice is predictably poised to be the next generation in what is now a legacy of poorly thought-out education-funding policy. If Texas legislators pass universal school choice, they are perpetuating this failed concept that has proven to dramatically decrease education quality while simultaneously driving up cost with crippling levels of unnecessary inflation.
Texas is home to about 1,200 private schools serving 250,000 students. Texas legislators have talked about lowering property taxes in the state. Universal School Choice, which could add these 250,000 students to the public payrolls in the form of vouchers, will make those desirable tax cuts untenable. All these individuals, who currently pay their own bills, will now become dependent on their neighbors’ taxes (tax money) to fund their unique individual choice. Texas already has robust school choice options free of government subsidization. A popular conservative meme says, “Don’t feed the bears. It creates a dependent population unable to fend for themselves … you mean like Welfare Programs?” Could we also substitute the phrase: “… you mean like Universal School Choice, paid for by the taxpayers?” Budget gimmicks may show that these expensive policies can be financially possible in this moment, but in the future, said policies will not be sustainable; either we will have to abandon them, or significantly increase tax burden to sustain them.
The Texas legislators seem dead set on passing some sort of school choice bill. Perhaps they should consider policy that does not unintentionally normalize the principles of welfare, replicate past failed policies, and massively inflate both the state budget and the size of state government. Perhaps a true conservative policy would involve allowing Texans to retain their own, hard-earned money and consequently their choices as opposed to encouraging Texans to become increasingly dependent on the financial resources that rightfully belong to their neighbor. A tax credit for those who opt-out of the state regulated educational system would accomplish many goals without the glaring, negative side effects. With respect and sobriety, we can collectively remember the wise cautionary words of President Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
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