The Friedman Foundation is out with a great new report detailing the fiscal impact of all school choice programs from 1990 to 2006. They all save a bundle of money, despite their small size and other limitations. School choice saved $444 million, according to their calculations. And that is literal small change compared to the massive amounts a truly free educational system could save state and local governments.
The school choice movement has one large hurdle to clear before the barriers to educational freedom fall: Convince the broad middle class that educational choice is good for the broad middle class.
It is, of course… school choice saves money and children. And programs that provide for universal educational freedom would save mountains of money while giving middle-class parents the direct benefit of school choice.
But people think that school choice programs will increase the cost of education (and they have no idea how much money government schools actually eat up already). Constantly pounding the educational inequity drum will simply reinforce that perception and offer the middle class nothing in return.
The typical voter wants to help poor kids … but what have all the government programs meant to address inequities gotten us? Mo money, mo problems. Most government programs meant to address inequities end up soaking the taxpayer and changing little, if anything, for the better.
The school choice movement needs to do a much better job at convincing the middle class that school choice, and the fiscal argument for school choice is a great one that advertises benefits for taxpayers with and without children.
With property tax burdens at a high point and rates rising across the country, now’s a great time to highlight the fiscal recklessness of the education-industrial complex and how school choice can fix it.