When it comes to choosing a school, ‘haters will hate’

recently Study of rhetorical power Of discussions about choosing a school by an educated Harvard researcher Jason Badrick than Taylor SwiftThe lyrical observation of “haters will hate, haters, haters, haters, haters.”

Badrick found that any legislative attempt to expand educational options for needy families routinely goes through a blistering attack, even if the proposed school choice expansion is actually quite modest.

What’s more, two new stories in Florida show that school election programs can withstand severe attacks even in a year when there is no legislative effort to expand scholarships at all.

Last week, school district officials entered Leon and Hillsborough Districts have publicly complained that they will have less money to spend than they had hoped. And they put the blame on their favorite damn goat – school-choice scholarship programs that give needy families the opportunity to choose from a variety of learning options, including non-district-controlled schools.

“The complaints of Leon and Hillsboro officials appear to be a preventative evasion to divert taxpayers’ attention from the fact that their counties have failed to qualify for the $ 200 million K-12 fund.”School recognition“Money. Funding a performance bonus that could have been theirs if they had obeyed the state law banning masks for masks in schools.

Instead of acknowledging the financial impact of their defiance, Leon and Hillsborough officials chose instead to oppose scholarships for school choice, noting the old and tired chatter that these popular programs threaten to “dismantle” public education.

Apparently, these officials believe that money per student should not go after the student to every school where the student is studying. Instead, they think taxpayers should fund systems, not students. And they want the system to determine where the students are educated – not the parents.

Fortunately, our country’s education leaders have worked tirelessly to eliminate “Systemic privilege“In education K-12. Over the last quarter of a century, they have carefully (and carefully) expanded the school’s elective programs. And students of all kinds in Florida – Including those who were educated in district schools – Earned a lot.

This year, our country’s education leaders have decided to tap into the “delay” in expanding school choice, preferring instead to pay primary attention to parents’ growing concerns about the content of schooling in public school classrooms.

But that hasn’t stopped school district officials from blaming education-choice programs for hurting their bottom line – even when they cashed big fat checks for “relieving Cubid”. In fact, Leon County has received $ 60 million in COVID-19 federal funding – more than five times the amount spent on scholarships to select a school for Leon students. And even without these COVID-19 funds, the impact of the scholarships is less than 3% of the total Leon School budget.

So, no problem here – unless one believes school districts should be paid for students who are not enrolled in their system. And it’s stupid of school officials to claim that a family that enrolls its kindergarten child in a Montessori school “takes money from the public education system.”

It’s like saying that a family that freely chooses to send packages through UPS somehow takes money that rightfully belongs to the US Postal Service.

What’s more, the standard amount of a Family Empowerment Scholarship is about half the amount of $ 14,000 per student in Leon County schools. So, taxpayers clearly enjoy a choice of education, right along with families and students in Florida.

The unfair criticism now being leveled against scholarships for school choice is disappointing. Even if it could have been predicted by Badrick’s scholarly research and by Swift’s famous lyrics. Still, there is an important lesson in all of this for Florida policymakers who are considering expanding the scholarships for school selection in next year’s Legislative Session:

If you’re going to be damned if you do and damn well if you do not, you should probably get your foot on the gas pedal and bring the choice of education to the thousands of Florida families who still need more options for their children.


William Metox He is the director of the J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options at the James Madison Institute.

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