February 27, 2023

Josh Moon: “School choice” is an awful choice

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Josh Moon is a reporter for the Alabama Political Reporter, and he would like to ask some hard questions about Alabama’s proposed school choice program.

First, he sums up what school choice was supposed to be about:

“School choice,” as it was originally intended, is not an alternative to fixing poor performing public schools. It was a choice between good schools which offered different educational focuses or unique teaching styles.

But that’s not what Alabama’s bill, a tax credit scholarship version of a voucher, is about.

But in Alabama, with our Alabama Accountability Act (AAA), school choice is this: a tax break to leave a school that’s underperforming on standardized tests and join a better performing public school or a wholly untested, possibly even unaccredited, private school.

And so Moon has been trying to get an answer to a critical question.

The question: If the “failing school” is indeed so terrible that we’re willing to reroute tax money from it to a private institution that’s not even accredited, then what makes it OK for some students to attend that failing school?

Because we’re not shutting down the bad schools. We’re not devoting a dime’s more resources to them. In fact, we’re providing them less money.

Which means, when the students who can afford to change schools do move out, what’s left behind are the most poverty-stricken students in the worst funded public schools in the country.

It’s a recipe for perpetual poverty.

Because “choice” in Alabama really means “if you can afford to.”

That’s how you know this whole thing is a ruse – another in a long line of schemes to shove the have-nots out of the way and make sure the haves get every advantage.

Read the full editorial here. 

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