Virginia illustrates just how important political pressure is for school choice

February 13, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Educational Savings Accounts just failed in the Virginia General Assembly.

Four varied bills each failed at different stages in the legislature. This is not good, but it’s also not the end of the process toward school choice. ESAs, vouchers and other types of school choice have failed to become law in other states before now and later gone on to victory.

We’ve even been told that our work where at Accuracy in Media has aided that process. For it’s when people find out how the educational bureaucracy really works that they shift their votes to school choice.

Sure, we can say that Critical Race Theory shouldn’t be taught in schools. But as our videos from Ohio, from Utah, and last year from Idaho, show, it doesn’t really matter what we say. What parents say, what the legislature says, the woke and progressive have control of the school system. So, the school system will continue to be woke and progressive whatever parents or politicians say about it.

The only way out is to free the schools from the system. That means having school choice. Sure, some parents want their kids taught those things in that way. They can make that choice – others don’t and they won’t have to. Because they can simply choose a school that meets their desires about education.

Of course, no one willingly gives up power, and the progressives won’t when they hold it over schools. So, winning the votes in the legislatures can be difficult. But losing once isn’t the end of the process. As one governor put it, a vote against the idea in the legislature at least shows who the enemies are. This can be followed by putting political weight behind their challengers, as did indeed happen. Most of those challengers then getting elected and so school choice came about.

Or, to put it another way, if the current politicians won’t deliver what we want – school choice – then let’s go get us some different politicians who will. One of the joys about politics being that it doesn’t take too many politicians to be thrown out by the voters for the rest to change their minds and votes.

Losing school choice in Virginia is just losing it this year. A little more pressure from voters, and politicians will change their minds. It’s not just that they work for us – it’s that they want something from us, our votes and their positions.

The reason it’s difficult is that the education system is a solid and secure part of the current political system. That’s how the progressives gain their power over our children – being part of that political establishment. This means we have to change that political settlement – who gets elected – in order to gain school choice. This isn’t a party political issue. There are people in both major parties who are pro-school-choice. But it is a battle between what the people want and what the political system currently wants to allow us to have.

So, to gain school choice, to be able to educate our children as we want with our tax dollars then we’re going to have to make the politicians understand what it is that we want.

It does work, it is working, it’s just that it’s state-by-state and year-by-year. School choice is happening in several states this year, even if not in Virginia yet. But next year? Well, how afraid of us are the politicians going to be next time?


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