You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Two Views: Schools could thrive with free market, less bureaucracy


Recently, due to tremendous momentum, the issue of school choice has become front and center in education policy debates around the country. With the largest and most successful National School Choice Week ever, and President Donald Trump issuing a proclamation supporting school choice, the issue has been generating a lot of attention. Many people are still learning about school choice — and the more they learn, the more they support it.

While school choice has support from conservatives, liberals, and moderates, many of us in the movement have gotten involved partly due to our political philosophies and economic principles. We all want to help children get the best education possible, but different advocates come from different perspectives. I happen to be a conservative that believes in liberty, free market competition and limited government. My support for school choice is based on these principles and on helping every child succeed with a great education.

For my fellow conservatives, school choice is a no-brainer.

The basic conservative principle of liberty is integral to the idea of school choice, which was first proposed by Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman. Conservatives believe that parents should have the freedom to choose which school their children attend. We parents already can choose which grocery store we shop at, whether we buy a Ford or a Chevy, and whether we go to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. Why can’t parents decide where to send their children to school? For those of us who believe in liberty, we know that the status quo is indefensible.

Second, conservatives know that free market competition improves the quality of the product being sold or the service being rendered. We know that when companies are competing for consumers and market share, they have to work hard, innovate and produce a superior product or service to beat their competitors. When consumers can choose between Amazon and Wal-Mart, these companies lower their prices, offer special deals and provide faster shipping or better customer service.

The same is true of our education system. In places where parents can act as consumers of education services, the schools must compete for each child — and the dollars that follow that child. This improves outcomes for all students, whether in public schools or private schools. If parents in Texas had more choices, then the schools in their communities would compete for every child and would have to find ways to appeal to parents — the consumers of education services.

Finally, conservatives believe in limited government. We know that when government is too big and unwieldy, the services it provides decline in quality. Conservatives often point to the inefficiencies of the United States Post Office or government-run health care as examples. These types of one-size-fits-all approaches to mail delivery and health care also apply to our education system. The education bureaucracy and government-run schools have increased their budgets without producing any substantial increases in academic outcomes.

Conservatives know that we cannot fix the problems in education by simply spending more money. We must reduce the size and scope of the Department of Education, return power back to local communities, and ensure that education dollars are spent in the classroom. We must also enact a bold school choice program that allows parents the freedom to decide how their children are educated.

We live in a globalized economy — and Texans are now competing with people from around the world for jobs. We must improve our educational outcomes in this state — and as conservatives, all we need to do is remember our first principles: liberty, free market competition and limited government. If we apply these principles to our education system in Texas, we can and will improve the lives of millions of Texans. And that is a noble and just cause that every conservative should support.

Steinhauser is a partner at Steinhauser Strategies. He’s also an a Texas adviser for EdChoice, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for school choice.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters to the editor: May 30, 2017
Letters to the editor: May 30, 2017

Re: May 24 article, “Lawmaker circumvents Texas Legislature to address school lunch shaming.” I agree children should not go hungry in school. As one who frequents school cafeterias in the Austin Independent School District, I see the source of hunger coming not from the lack of food available to children, but from children not eating what...
Commentary: Finstas are a window into millennial’s imperfect life
Commentary: Finstas are a window into millennial’s imperfect life

Do you know what a finsta is? Neither did I, because I am not between the ages of 13 and 34. Anyone 13 to 18 is part of Gen Z, and those ages 18 to 34 are the much-discussed millennials. Dan Coates studies them both. His company, Ypulse, is a youth-marketing research firm based in New York, and lately some of its research has been on finstas. Finstas...
Commentary: How SB4 dims hopes for immigrants — and the rest of America
Commentary: How SB4 dims hopes for immigrants — and the rest of America

A student I taught last year — I’ll call her Ana — comes by my classroom at the end of the day to ask if I’ll write a recommendation for her when she applies to colleges next fall. I tell her of course, and ask her if she’s excited to be a senior. She says she is, but she’s nervous. “Why?” I ask. She...
Herman: Dan Patrick assigns blame, wins with likely special session
Herman: Dan Patrick assigns blame, wins with likely special session

And on Sunday, the 139th day of the 140-day regular session of the 2017 Texas Legislature, the blamethrowers came out full blast on both sides of Your State Capitol. And, as usual, the flames of political rhetoric singed the usual bystanders: me, you and our fellow Texans. The inevitable bottom line as the session sputters towards its Monday conclusion...
Opinion: On JFK's 100th birthday, Trump repudiates his legacy
Opinion: On JFK's 100th birthday, Trump repudiates his legacy

Former presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter are both over 90, and still with us — making it just barely conceivable that John F. Kennedy might have lived to celebrate his 100th birthday on Monday, if he had not been assassinated in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Surely JFK would have noted a contrast between his Jan. 20, 1961, inaugural...
More Stories