Why is the expansion of school choice appealing to Texas politicians?
Texas Legislatures have been fixing public education for a long time. If we only look back as far as 1984 with the passage of House Bill 72, a major education reform, their efforts have spanned thirty plus years.
Evidently, the legislatures from 1984 forward haven’t got it right, at least to their liking, because the 85th Texas Legislature is in session and, again, it is trying to fix public ed with an expanded concept of school choice high on the political agenda.
Let’s be honest, school choice benefits some children and expanding those options would help more children.
Let’s be honest, school choice and its expansion benefits politicians, too. Here’s how:
- State-level politicians don’t know how to get schools to meet their (i.e., politicians’s) expectations – again, they’ve been at it for a long time and they are still trying to get schools fixed. School choice is “at -least-something,” and, best yet, it doesn’t involve fixing the schools they’ve been trying to fix;
- And this “at-least-something”does help some children and their parents feel good about and benefit from their schools of choice. Politicians take advantage of this. They can and do proudly point to that as proof that school choice works. Again, it works for some, but not for all, and in typical-government-solution-fashion (TGSF) the overall impact of a program is ignored. [At the federal level, look at Obamacare – some people have been helped, but much has been ignored: its negative impact on the business of health care, and the cost – a trillion dollars and growing – is not sustainable]; and
- The push for the expansion of school choice options is insatiable. During the political lives of the current set of politicians, there will never be enough, there will always be a cry for more. In TGSF, the cry for more is useful as a reason to ask for your vote.
School choice benefits some children, and it benefits some Texas politicians, too.