The Best Criminal Justice Reform Is School Choice

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

OCPA carries my article on why school choice is the best criminal justice reform:

Six rigorous empirical studies have found that school choice policies reduce crime, and no studies find the opposite. Some of them study charter schools, which don’t empower parents as much as private-school choice does, but the principle is the same. Two studies of the private-school voucher program in Milwaukee, not far from where I live, found that graduates of the program were less likely to be convicted of crimes in their twenties. And don’t say that’s because the program attracts the less vulnerable students—in Milwaukee, as in most cities, school choice serves mostly poor and minority students. In any event, the studies compared matched student populations with similar backgrounds.

It’s not hard to see why school choice is proven to reduce crime. Putting parents back in charge of education is the key to educating children as if they were human beings, not economic widgets or political footballs. Education is preparing a whole person for a whole life—that’s just what the word means. Only parents can rightly control the process of preparing a whole person for a whole life, because childrearing is a parental function. Schools can carry out that function, but they can only do it rightly if they answer to the people who are supposed to be in charge of it.

When parents aren’t in charge, schools can’t treat students as human beings. The monopoly system turns schools into industrialized machines. That’s not because the teachers and principals are bad. It’s just the way the system has to work as long as it’s a government monopoly, no matter how well-meaning the people inside that system might be.

School choice is the only education policy proven to break the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Time to put up or shut up.

However, don’t shut up until you’ve let me know what you think!

One Response to The Best Criminal Justice Reform Is School Choice

  1. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    A legal/institutional environment which subsidizes each family’s choice of school would likely reduce crime, relative to the current State-monopoly school system. Educational choice (including subsidized homeschooling, subsidized apprenticeships) would likely reduce crime below the level reached by subsidized school choice alone.
    Compulsory unpaid labor is slavery. Schools give to many normal children no reason to do what schools require. Compulsory attendance laws, minimum wage laws, and child labor laws put on-the-job training off-limits to most children.
    In Hawaii, juvenile arrests fall when school is not in session. Juvenile hospitalizations for human-induced trauma fall when school is not in session.

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