Fighting For Choice: Would You ‘Steal’ An Education For Your Kids?

Fighting For Choice: Would You ‘Steal’ An Education For Your Kids?

Being on “the wrong side of the tracks” has been replaced with zip codes when it comes to contemporary public education in America. Every year, more money is being thrown at teaching today’s children. School days are getting longer and summer vacations are getting shorter. Students pass through metal detectors to be fed tofu burgers and carrot sticks for lunch. Despite all of this, learning in America is abysmal at best. The US continues to rank lower every year on the world scale. For some concerned parents, the bleak state of education has pushed them to ‘steal’ an education for their kids.

Tanya McDowell, of Connecticut, is one such parent who defied the rules by sending her child to a school outside of her district. She is part of a growing phenomenon of parents who ‘steal’ an education for their kids; also termed “district hopping.” Fed up with the school she was forced to enroll her son—she set up an address through her babysitter in a neighboring community.

“Tanya McDowell, 33, was arrested and charged with first degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 in educational services from Norwalk Public Schools.” (ABC News)

McDowell is not alone in her quest, and subsequent prosecution, for wanting a choice in regard to her child’s education. An absence of choice seems contrary to today’s custom made culture where choice is demanded- and expected- in every conceivable facet of culture, and it certainly flies in the face of the liberally fueled relentless demand of equality for all. It seems that equality doesn’t include education. And so, parents are choosing to steal their children’s education. One might argue that they are only taking back what has been stolen from them!

Politicians, and even civil rights leaders, have been largely silent on the issue. After all, it doesn’t benefit the government for its citizens to make their own choices. However, Senator Rand Paul has once again stepped away from his colleagues to steadily advocate for school choice.

During a recent speech at the National Urban League’s annual conference in Cincinnati, Paul stated:

“They say education is the great equalizer, but all schools aren’t equal. Many of the large schools in our cities are functioning with low standards. Many of the schools have become dropout factories. Some schools lack discipline and are unsafe. I saw that the status quo is unacceptable. But Washington has no clue how to fix this problem.

Washington has no clue how to fix education. Washington doesn’t know whether you’re a good teacher or a bad teacher. We should allow innovation to occur at the local level. I propose that we allow school charters, school choice, vouchers, competition.

Competition breeds excellence and encourages innovation. And boy, we really need innovation. My kids went to great public schools. I went to great public schools. The president’s kids go to great private schools. There are a lot of choices out there. I want to make it where all Americans get the option of choosing the best schools for their kids.” (Education Week)

Paul is once again reaching out to minorities in a meaningful way, addressing issues that are relevant rather than repeating archaic statements from a distance. He understands the need for choice in education. Paul contends that school choice is a contemporary civil rights issue. How could it be viewed otherwise as the vast majority of black populations are, by virtue of their zip code, locked into what Paul refers to as “dropout factories”—a perpetual cycle of bad education begetting bad opportunity.

Of course, this lack of choice is not limited to minorities but rather anyone who values a child’s education but is restricted by the district in which they live. It is a civil rights issue for all Americans being subjected to ever-expanding government control. Perhaps this “crime” of district hopping is a form of civil disobedience, rather than ‘stealing’ an education. Maybe people like Ms. McDowell should be viewed more as pioneers for choice, and less as lawbreakers. How odd that the land of opportunity is defined by a combination of numbers. A restriction of choice stifles competition, opportunity, and ultimately—personal success. Wait a minute- isn’t that the goal of today’s government, anyway? Would you ‘steal’ an education for your kids? Leave a comment below and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Written by Adam Michael Hamilton



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