Conspiring to Be Civil

A few days ago, a reporter asked me to comment on a conference video in which I appeared. The event was four or five years ago, but the Florida teachers’ union must have just discovered the video and apparently was circulating it to the media. Couched as a smoking gun, it was purported to reveal school choice advocates’ “true intentions.” But the media, apart from some left-leaning Florida bloggers, seem to have concluded it was wasn’t newsworthy (not enough hand-wringing or maniacal laughter, I suppose).

That’s really too bad, because upon rewatching the clips that the union selected, I’m really pleased to have attention drawn to them. Several deal with the strongest argument that can be leveled at government-funded school choice: that, like state-run schools, it can force taxpayers to pay for the promotion of ideas that violate their convictions, leading to social conflict.

Here’s my take on how to address that problem:

And here’s how I responded to the claim that violating taxpayers’ freedom of conscience isn’t a big deal:


In my answer above, I cite one example of how the combination of ideological diversity and compulsion in education can lead to grave social conflict. There are many, many others. How many? Please refer to my colleague Neal McCluskey’s interactive map chronicling some of the hundreds of social conflicts precipitated by public schools around the United States over the past few years.