Unlikely outlets publish piece in favor of school choice

April 26, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Who is it that benefits most from school choice? Students in the worst school systems in the country. Who, given the horror stories we hear about some of the education systems in this country are those who suffer the worst education systems in the country? The inner-city children sentenced to mal-education in those appalling urban school systems – also obviously. And the way the demographics of the U.S. work out that means that it’s largely Black children who are given that appalling education by the worst school systems in the country.

 So the people who will benefit most from school choice are those Black, poor inner-city children who suffer the most from the worst parts of the current systems. Thomas Sowell has written entire books on how this is so.

NowThis News (running an AP report) highlights the effect of this. Black parents are among those most interested in school choice:

The situation has caused more Black families to leave public schools, opting for homeschooling or private schools that embrace their identity and culture. Public school enrollment of Black students between pre-K and 12th grade has declined each year measured in federal data since 2007.

Now, we’d not say we regard that falling enrollment, entirely on its own, as proof given that the Black child population has been falling over the same time period. But it does look as if the fall in public school enrolment is higher than the population decline.

It’s also possible to query the reason for these choices – toward private schools. AP (and NowThis) are arguing that it’s unwillingness to teach African-American history, to insist on the innate racism of the country and so on that is leading to this choice. Hey, maybe that’s even true although our other investigations find little evidence of that.

The point of school choice though is that parents get to decide upon the schooling they think is best for their children. Parents get to decide on the schooling best for their own children. Period. That’s what school choice means.

So, here we have evidence that school choice is being taken up, desired, and applied for where available, by Black parents. Good. That’s the point of it all. Parents decide. What parents decide isn’t for us to insist upon – for that again is the point of school choice – parents get to decide, not us, the school board or the teachers’ unions.

We’ve seen this before in Texas, where some of the strongest support for school choice is among Black parents. On exactly the same grounds as we opened this piece with – Black children get some of the worst education in this country, why wouldn’t black parents want choice to escape those appalling systems?

We can even be more than a little arch about this. To be progressive is, according to the usual definitions, to be concerned with those worst off in our current society. That makes school choice the progressive choice, doesn’t it? All we’ve got to do now is convince progressives of that truth.


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