For decades “school choice” has been the education policy mantra of the conservatives and has been fought hard by liberals every step of the way. Now, for the first time in history, we have a market for school choice and it appears even some former foes are embracing and perhaps co-opting the term. This, in and of itself, causes one to exert caution and question the continued reverence of “school choice” as the panacea to mend education.
The term “school choice” when thoughtfully considered is inadequate to describe the proper emphasis of authority necessary to right the education ship. Parents are a child’s first teacher and they should have absolute say in what and how their children learn. We must restore parental authority over children’s education and therefore USPIE will begin by redefining the solution from school choice to parental choice. Additionally, parental choice means curriculum choice where classical, technology-free, and other non-Common Core curricula are available.
Parental choice options such as charter schools, vouchers, education savings accounts, and tax credits are a step in the right direction away from government-controlled education if structured properly. However, outside of tax credits, government remains in control through mandatory testing, which undermines the viability of these options. Furthermore, if parental choice means a parent is simply empowered to choose which Common Core school their child will attend, USPIE posits this is no choice at all.
USPIE’s primary mission is to end the U.S. Department of Education and all federal education mandates and to return local, community and parental control of education. Thereby, USPIE is opposed to Title I portability and all federally-regulated choice options.
USPIE supports the parental choice option of increasing the federal Child Tax Credit for parents who do not chose to enroll their children in government schools. USPIE supports similar tax credits on the State level. Even if not initially, all other parental choice options directed by government have the potential to become regulated and tied to the federal government’s workforce development database.
USPIE endeavors to help parents find ways to take advantage of independent, private and home school alternatives to government schools, and is open-minded but leery of parental choice options that are currently driven by the federal government.