29 July 2008

Simple Truth about Obama and School Choice

I’ll have more to say about Senators McCain and Obama with reference to education “reform” later, but here’s a quick, important note on the matter. In an op-ed piece, the Wall Street Journal says Sen. Obama’s “daughters attend the private University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where annual tuition ranges from $15,528 for kindergarten to $20,445 for high school.” (Emphasis added.) That must be some school.

Could it be that, if he wins the presidency, Mr. Obama would raise per student expenditures to $15-20k everywhere? (That would be three to four times what my local school district spends per pupil.) Or, as the WSJ piece points out, Mr. Obama knows that his local public schools are a total mess and would not subject his daughters to them?

I’d bet a meager public teacher’s paycheck it is the latter.

As an extension of that argument – that the public system is a mess – it seems unconscionable that Mr. Obama would support a policy which does not provide for more free choice when it comes to education. He’s free to choose. He has the money to pay for what I consider to be a wildly expensive K-12 system. I’m happy for that. So why not work to extend that choice to all parents, and let the parent’s choice be followed by tax dollars which are already going toward education?

Here’s the key, I think. Money would be “lost” somewhere (though I doubt this is a zero sum game). Any guesses on who’s afraid of losing money?


Jack N said...

I'll bite: the teacher's union(s)??

Bob M. said...


In some states, that's probably a 50-75% answer. In others, it's the existing power structure.

Perhaps I missed something in this post that I should have hit on more: virtual monopolistic power. Since most of us common folk can't afford the pricey private schools (and I realize that not all are pricey), public schools by in large have an educational monopoly in many locations. From what I've read of history, monopolies don't like to hand over power.

As always, thanks for reading!