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Indiana Proves Parents Want School Choice!

From an AP story published Monday:

Ind. vouchers prompt thousands to change schools


Weeks after Indiana began the nation’s broadest school voucher program, thousands of students have transferred from public to private schools, causing a spike in enrollment at some Catholic institutions that were only recently on the brink of closing for lack of pupils.

It’s a scenario public school advocates have long feared: Students fleeing local districts in large numbers, taking with them vital tax dollars that often end up at parochial schools. Opponents say the practice violates the separation of church and state.

In at least one district, public school principals have been pleading with parents not to move their children.

“The bottom line from our perspective is, when you cut through all the chaff, nobody can deny that public money is going to be taken from public schools, and they’re going to end up in private, mostly religious schools,” said Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Under a law signed in May by Gov. Mitch Daniels, more than 3,200 Indiana students are receiving vouchers to attend private schools. That number is expected to climb significantly in the next two years as awareness of the program increases and limits on the number of applicants are lifted.

The reason the parents are choosing mostly catholic schools is that they are better than many public schools and they are everywhere.  I would venture that many, if not most of the people using these vouchers to send their kids to catholic schools aren’t even catholic.  If the government freed up the money parents are being forced to spend on public schools, and allowed them to spend it on the school of their choosing, the secular private school market would flourish.  I don’t even see the need to do this through a state voucher program.  Why not simply get rid of the state income tax and the school tax (which is the lion’s share of our property tax)?  Imagine how much money would be available to you to educate your child.  There would be a huge market of all sorts of schools competing for that money. 

Assistance, in the form of vouchers could be provided to parents who can’t afford tuition just like food stamps (or whatever they call them now) are given to people who can’t afford food.  But just like food stamp (or whatever they call them now) recipients can choose their own supermarkets, voucher parents should be allowed to choose their schools. 

Nobody unconnected to the current system is demanding that the government limit our choices when it comes to educating our children.  To the contrary, parents repeatedly jump at the opportunity to choose their schools.  It’s about time New Jersey’s leaders understood this.

One more thing.  New Jersey must remove the education clause from the state constitution.  In a free society, you can not have a right to a good, as that violates the rights of the person being forced to provide that good.


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