An Advantage For All Families

The Alberta Parents’ Union is not, at our core, a school choice organization.

Rather, we are a “parents know better than politicians” organization, on a wide array of issues including, but not limited to, school choice.

We think that assuming politicians are the real experts in what kids need - instead of their parents - is a big mistake.

But, for those who *do* think politicians know best, it makes sense that they would favour better funding for the system of education most designed by politicians and most accountable to politicians.

Equally obvious: it is in our interest as parents to organize against that favouritism.

That, in the simplest terms, is what the school choice movement is.

It may be easier to think about the opposite of school choice.

The opposite of school choice is being assigned to a school based on where you live, with no possibility to exit that assigned school for any other option.

Combine that with compulsory education laws, compulsory taxes to fund the education system, compulsory union membership to teach, compulsory union dues, and so on, and you see how such a system involves much more force than freedom.

It’s easy to see how such a system would, by its very nature, work well for some, but trap many more in a school that doesn’t fit a student’s specific needs.

Such a system would especially benefit the very rich, who could afford to live near only other very rich families, and ensure through political clout that their own children receive the very best of everything, while the rest of us wrangle over the leftovers.

In other words, when where you live determines the quality of your kids' education, then it's really just how much you can afford to spend on your house that determines the quality of your kids' education.

Even in this “zero choice” environment, the wealthy will always have choices in education.

Now, let's imagine adding back in more choice in education, piece by piece.

First - add the most basic level of choice in education - allowing people to educate their own children at home.

Now, not just the extremely wealthy can have choice in education, but also any family who can afford to forgo one parent’s earnings will also be able to exercise that choice.

Next, add one more level of choice in education - allow people to pay for other schooling, but still require them to pay taxes toward the assigned school their child doesn’t attend.

Now, more families - those who can afford to pay twice for education - can afford education choice - but most still cannot.

Skipping ahead to the most school choice possible, universal school vouchers allow for existing funding to follow your child to whatever school they attend.

Now, all families can afford school choice.

Alberta has better choice in education than any other Canadian jurisdiction and better than most places in the world (which is why our education system outperforms so many others).

But educrats in Edmonton still decide how much money follows which children to what kinds of schools, and they still favour the schools most controlled by the politicians who employ them.

Anyone who points out the injustice of this system will have one reliable myth deployed against us: “You want a two-tiered education system!”

Yet, clearly, it is a lack of school choice, where only the rich can afford to choose, that actually creates a two-tier system.

Indeed, two-tiered education is an accurate description of what the ATA, and their many proxies, advocate.

Pay for education once, through taxes.

Then those who can afford to pay for it all over again could choose the best education for their child, so long as they leave their taxes where their child “belongs”.

Fortunately for Alberta, we have not followed the folly of Ontario into the regress of two-tiered education.

The wealthy will always have choices in education.

But in Alberta, your family can afford it, too!

The Alberta Advantage in Education is obvious.

Rather than the public system being hollowed out as it has elsewhere, our public education system excels in most measures.

That makes sense, since study after study after study shows that the outcomes for all students - those who choose another option and those who remain in public schools - improve when more choice in education is allowed.

School choice is a rising tide that lifts all boats!

And we don’t need studies to show us that in Alberta as we are living proof - world-leading educational freedom and world-leading educational outcomes.

You are the expert and best advocate for your own family’s education.

Which brings us to the final reason to reject two-tiered education.

It empowers parents over politicians when it comes to funding.

Those who call themselves #PublicProud, but believe public schools would be destroyed by competition rather than rise to it, prove their pride is false and fragile indeed.

We’re thinking of making this a continuing series: School Choice Myths. We’d like to address a lot of the most common misconceptions about educational freedom, not just in this email, but across multiple media.

Could you donate today to make this series of the highest possible quality?

Every child should be able to access an education that we all can be proud of having provided.

And we're determined to help protect that choice.

Until next time,

Jeff and the Alberta Parents’ Union Team

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  • Alberta Parents' Union
    published this page in News 2024-04-03 11:47:40 -0600