Education Letter to the Editor

Let’s Talk About What ‘Choice’ Really Means

February 01, 2011 1 min read

To the Editor:

Your article about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (“Jeb Bush’s Impact Felt on K-12 Policy,” Jan. 12, 2011) talked a lot about school “choice.” Let’s see what that really means.

A church chooses to have a private school, in which it chooses the curriculum, chooses which religious teachings to promote, chooses which teachers to hire and which to exclude, and which children to admit, and then chooses to ask Congress or the state legislature to choose to support the school with public funds. Taxpayers, of course, are generally not asked if they wish to have their tax dollars support faith-based schools.

Some states have allowed voters to choose whether or not they want to their taxes to support faith-based private schools, and, as has happened universally, the voters have chosen to say no by substantial margins. Not to be deterred, however, the faith-based school operators choose to continue to lobby for public aid.

Perhaps these churches should only choose to operate private schools that their members choose to support voluntarily.

Allan Powell

Professor Emeritus

Hagerstown Community College

Hagerstown, Md.

A version of this article appeared in the February 02, 2011 edition of Education Week as Let’s Talk About What ‘Choice’ Really Means