In Cherokee County, we are blessed with an excellent school system. That is not the case throughout the state and whenever we resist parental options in education, parents are forced into only one source for K-12 education.
Why should our school systems fear competition and believe that cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all government education is the only way to educate our children? Single source is never the best, as we are all different. We enjoy options in virtually every other part of our lives where we shop, where we eat, where we worship and even in colleges, why not K through 12? Additionally, parental options create competition and competition is always good. So who are we protecting, the teachers or the children?
Arguments against school options often say that charter schools or vouchers financially damage government school systems and that there is no accountability. Both of these are wrong and misleading! First, there is no way to know how many parents might choose to move their children to alternative education; and in the case of charter schools, the government system that loses the student in the classroom still maintains approximately one-third of the funding for that student. With oversize classrooms and crowding being preached, how is this a loss? Additionally, non-government schools are held to tight educational standards. Since money seems to be such an issue how is it that we have sufficient funding in Cherokee County to pay some kindergarten teachers over $84,000 per year? Why do government school systems always act like it is their money? Remember this is taxpayer money. You are the taxpayer.
Americans have options for virtually everything in life, why should K-12 education be limited to one option? Has it just become compulsory government education? Parental options will allow individuals to enroll their child in a system that more adequately meets their needs. This could include more advanced or specialized schooling or even a more disciplined or a more moral environment like schools were at one time. Who should have the choice on how to educate their child … the parent or the government?
I suggest we look at offering parental options. State Rep. Wes Cantrell is advocating for just that in HB 301 in our state Legislature. Remember, competition is the bedrock of innovation, efficiency and quality. We will see union muscle oppose our freedom of choice. However, we should all support HB 301 or SB 173 otherwise someday maybe we will all shop at the only grocery store, drive only one kind of car, have only one candidate on the ballot and go to only one school. Call your state senator and representative with your support!
Quentin M. Thomas