The Republicans’ nationwide push for vouchers is on.
Vouchers are promoted by the GOP as so-called school choice: the panacea to fix failing public schools by abandoning them. What they really amount to is a huge transfer of public education money to private companies. Public Education is one of the last holdouts against the creeping privatization of our government (aka “how fascism grows in America”). The thought of cutting into that fat education purse has the GOP seeing dollar signs.
In the US House of Representatives and in GOP-controlled state houses like Indiana, Republicans are beginning their assault on public education in earnest. Their assault is taking place in a perfect storm of their creation. State budget crises and the debunked-but-popular culture of austerity give the perfect cover for deep cuts in public education. Shuffle what’s left of this public money — through grants, scholarships, rebates, or whatever — into private schools and it becomes the perfect heist.
Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with private education. I am myself a product of both private and public education. What I have a problem with is public money going to private education instead of public education. If you want to send your kids to a private school, that’s great, but that should not absolve you from your responsibility to pay into public education along with everyone else.
If our public schools are struggling, it is our duty as a society to get in there and fix them. That means being more active and supportive as parents of schoolkids. That means volunteering at schools. That means working with our school districts to push innovation in the classroom. That means reforming our soul-crushing system of standardized tests.
We should not abandon our public schools to companies which are looking to make a buck. The Great GOP School Heist is going on right now in Washington DC and in states across the nation. Write your representatives and let them know that our schools need saving, not selling off.