(Guest Post by Jason Bedrick)
In Mike Antonucci’s end-of-the-year roundup of quotes by and about teachers’ unions, this one stood out for me:
“We know why parents sometimes embrace these voucher schemes. They move their kids to these programs because they want smaller class size, safer environments and less and more sensible testing. That’s exactly what we want for public schools.” — Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association
Wow, it’s almost as though — contrary to popular opinion among the ed establishment — parents know what’s good for their kids and where to get it!
McCall’s list is amusing for several reasons. First, if the district schools really want smaller class sizes, wouldn’t giving families other options accomplish that goal?
The same goes for safer environments. As Dr. Kevin Currie-Knight and I have explained, school choice not only gives bullied students an escape hatch, it also creates a strong incentive for district schools to take student safety seriously.
As for “less and more sensible testing,” I’m all for that. Would the teachers’ unions take a grand bargain that expanded school choice to all students while reducing top-down regulations on district schools (such allowing districts to decide which nationally norm-referenced test their students will take rather than being forced to administer the state test)?
Most school choice advocates would take that deal in a heartbeat, but I suspect that the people who constantly complain that “private schools aren’t held to the same high standards (that, ahem, we want to eliminate)” wouldn’t be willing to take that deal.
Of course, I hope I’m wrong about that. And the school choice movement will be waiting by the phone in case the unions call.