Freedom from government control should be the norm in a country grounded in liberty. But instead of a system in which the default is education based in diverse communities and free family decisions, the default is uniform government provision.
Public schooling—in which diverse people are required to pay for a single system of government‐run schools—inherently sets up conflicts because some things cannot be simultaneously taught as true. There is a more equal, more peaceful, way to structure an education system: school choice.
No doubt believers in public schooling are guided by good intentions—they truly seek the ideal of unity and enlightenment for all—but too often, especially if they oppose school choice, they may let their ideals overtake their understanding of reality.
Research, often after controlling for student characteristics such as family wealth, has typically found that compared to public schoolers, private school students and graduates are as tolerant or more tolerant of others.
Tomorrow the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Espinoza v. Montana, a case addressing state constitutional provisions that bar public funds from going to religious institutions, especially schools. There are many reasons the U.S. Supreme Court should rule in favor of school choice, but the most important is that the end that Blaine amendments are supposed to achieve—keeping government out of religion—is far better served by the measure Montana struck down than maintaining a public school monopoly over taxpayer funds.
We live ina status quo in which everyone is taxed to support government schools, which must be secular, by law. In light of that reality, school choice is a huge step toward the basic freedom and equality that libertarians champion.