Does School Choice Expand the State?

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(Guest post by Greg Forster)

OCPA’s Perspective carries my response to folks in Oklahoma who have tried to peel off small-government types (thick on the ground in that state) from the school choice coalition by arguing that choice expands the state:

Now, it is true that ESAs are an “entitlement” in the way that term is normally used in the context of public policy. Like Social Security and food stamps, they create a benefit to which all people in the relevant class (retirees for Social Security, the poor for food stamps, parents for school choice) are entitled under the law.

The key difference is that Social Security, food stamps, and other typical entitlement programs represent the expansion of government into a leading role in areas previously dominated by private savings, employer-paid pensions, church and community organizations, and other non-governmental solutions…

School choice, by contrast, reverses the endless expansion of government by moving us away from a government monopoly…Compared to the government school monopoly, school choice liberates individual initiative, economic interdependence, and spiritual community. It allows parents to take control of their children’s education, becoming stewards over their own lives, instead of treating them like perpetual wards of government—as if they were cattle in the government’s pen. It supports educational entrepreneurs who create new school systems designed to serve the customer base created by school choice. And it allows schools to have a holistic vision of what it means to be an educated person—one that doesn’t yank the leash and stick a gag in teachers’ mouths when students ask big spiritual questions about the meaning and purpose of human life.

Oh, and it also contains this moment:

The email exchange was later made public by subpoena, to Hofmeister’s embarrassment. (Why anyone involved in government uses email or texting is beyond me.)

Come for the well-deserved embarrassment of a politician caught in shenanigans, stay for the political philosophy of the modern state!

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One Response to Does School Choice Expand the State?

  1. Jason Bedrick says:

    Folks in Texas need to hear this as well.

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