A Post-Pandemic Case for ESAs

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

In its big new paper on bold post-pandemic state policy reforms, OCPA includes my case for ESAs:

Of course, it is always the right time to do the right thing. But during a crisis, it is especially important to think carefully about first principles. A crisis is the time when we will be most sorely tempted to compromise our most important commitments under the sway of special interests and specious fashions. Let’s hold on tight to what is good.

And our first principle for education should be to put parents first:

Human beings are not generic units, interchangeable and automatically functional, like the dollars in a teacher union’s bank account or the bubbles on a standardized test or the ones and zeros in a computer program. Human beings are unique creatures with unruly minds, hearts, and wills that are made to become mature, responsible, and free in a just community of equals. And it is obvious to anyone who knows the natural “facts of life” that the process of preparing a human being for mature freedom rests with families, since that is where human beings originally come from (the exact processes involved being a subject outside our current scope). To say that schools exist to educate is to say that they exist to help families rear their children.

I get into why choice should be universal, especially after the disruption of the pandemic, and why ESAs are the best policy design.

Let me know what you think!

4 Responses to A Post-Pandemic Case for ESAs

  1. mike norton says:

    No, human beings are not generic unit – nor fungible – nor are they motivated or improved by applying a single template.

    And thank you for explaining why Great Hearts has failed to keep up with pitifully underfunded Arizona schools for the last decade and why it cannot conceivably succeed.in the future.

    As the supply of middle/upper income white kids diminishes and GHA must deal with a full slice of the market share, GHA will look worse every year.

    The crowning blow would be forcing GHA to adopt a SPED Budget of greater than Negative $50,000.

  2. matthewladner says:

    Wow Greg- you’ve been honored with one of Mike’s copyrighted “six days of Snickers and energy drinks and I STILL can’t get to sleep” unrelated to anything rando rant! Congrats!

  3. Malcolm Kirkpatrick says:

    Forster: “Funds in the account can only be used for educational purposes … ”
    This implies some oversight mechanism and will require an operational definition of “education”.
    Parent Performance Contracting (PPC. Search “The Harriet Tubman Agenda, The Proposal”) provides financial and performance accountability and requires no new administrative machinery.

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