A new program launched in the state of Arizona is delivering a resounding blow to the teachers unions while restoring power to parents when it comes to their child’s education. The program will give parents up to $7,000 to seek educational alternatives for their child if the child’s school closes for even a single day due to Covid lockdowns. The program didn’t come a moment too soon, as teachers unions are rising up to demand schools shut their doors again, a move that parents are none too happy about.
A renewed interest by parents in their children’s education is one of the best things to come out of the horrible Covid-19 pandemic. More parents are realizing that the ultimate responsibility lies with them, not the school districts or the teachers unions. As public schools become less and less attractive, the school choice movement is skyrocketing to new heights of popularity.
Though this level of popular support may be new, the school choice movement has been operating off of the same simple message for decades. If parents are responsible for their children, why should their choice of school be limited by arbitrary geographical boundaries? Communities are trapped in cyclical poverty in part because of failing schools that cannot be saved by large infusions of government dollars. If parents want to give their children the opportunity to break free from living on the “wrong side of the tracks,” the obvious solution to the problem is to remove the proverbial “tracks” and let the child attend a school of the parents’ choosing.
The primary enemy of this commonsense solution is the teachers unions. For decades, these unions have crowed about not giving up on public schools. However, as far as I’m concerned, America would be much better off giving up on failing schools than on trapped students.
School choice lets the best schools rise to the top and bring entire communities up with them. That’s the kind of sound policy we need in education, and I applaud the state of Arizona for making a small step toward a day when all parents will be free to make real educational choices for their children.