I never thought I would see the day, but I’ve been charged with “drooling” over a Democratic candidate’s policy position. I guess it’s true, and I guess I am that big of a nerd. I do some additional Spitzer-drooling on NRO this morning.
“If you’re a moderate on these issues, you should actually find tax credits more troubling than straight-out vouchers, mainly because tax credits for private education have even less public accountability for how public funds are used than do vouchers.”
But the thing is, school choice through tax credits provides an education system more accountable to parents and the public than charters, voucher, or anything else.
Personal-use tax credits allow parents to spend their own money on schools that they choose … and school accountability to parents is the most effective kind of accountability. Donation tax credits let people choose the kinds of Scholarship Granting Organizations they think do the best job educating lower-income children. In both cases, the people with the most interest in holding schools accountable for results are the ones with the power to actually hold them accountable – parents and the people funding the schools.
On top of this direct accountability to parents and the public, families and communities can choose the kind of school that works best for them, without making other people who disagree with their preferences pay for it. As it stands, we have to duke it out in the political and legal sphere over issues like separate but equal schooling for girls and boys. Some people want it, some don’t. Right now, it’s winner-takes-all, loser-tough-luck. Shouldn’t these decisions be ones for the parents, not the courts, the state, or the school district? And shouldn’t people who think same-sex education is wrong be able to withhold their support from it?
Education tax credits let individuals, families, and communities support the kind of educational environment they think works best. What’s wrong with diversity and freedom? Personally, those are the kinds of principles that get me drooling.