Not all education choice initiatives are created equal.
West Virginia’s near-universal Hope Scholarship, for example, empowers families to choose the learning environment that’s the best fit for their children — without costing taxpayers more. Microgrants do exactly the opposite.
The Hope Scholarship is an education savings account, or ESA, that families can use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online learning, educational services and therapies, and more. The ESA provides students leaving the public system or entering kindergarten or first grade with nearly 100% of existing state-level K-12 funding. That’s about $4,300 per pupil, and in West Virginia, where the average private school tuition is about $4,750, it goes a long way. In contrast, Idaho’s microgrant program, Empowering Parents, gives only $1,000 toward various educational expenses (excluding private school tuition) yet still costs taxpayers more money. That’s because there’s a catch: Idaho’s microgrants are primarily for children who stay in public schools.
That’s a common problem with microgrant programs. At the margin, West Virginia helps a child’s family afford a better option; Idaho does not.
The larger economic problem is that microgrants are microsocialism. Rather than redirecting funds from the existing K-12 education budget, as ESAs do, microgrants generally require new money. That means taxpayers fork over additional money the state distributes to somebody else. That’s why the Left does not see microgrants as a threat to the status quo. If the point is merely a larger handout, the Left loves it. But the point should be that every family finds the educational environment that’s best for their child. By that standard, microgrants are counterproductive.
Not only are microgrants bad policy, but they’re also a bad education reform strategy.
When presented with two proposals, one more robust and one more modest, legislators tend to opt for the more modest proposal. This way, they can have their cake and eat it, too, getting credit for at least doing something while blocking the more expansive reform.
Aware of this dynamic, proponents of microgrants portray them as a form of “school choice.” Legislators then think they can placate school choice proponents by enacting microgrants while reassuring choice opponents that they blocked more robust policies, such as ESAs. In this sense, microgrants are entirely parasitic on efforts to enact broad education choice policies. This is why proponents of microgrants work almost exclusively in red states, where the prospects of enacting choice policies are the best they’ve ever been. Microgrant proponents count on education choice coalitions to do the hard work of moving the Overton Window, then slip in and pass their own modest proposal at the expense of true school choice proposals…..
Are you fed up? Are you worried that America in rapidly sliding into a neo-Marxist state by the radical left in control of Washington with historically narrow majorities in the U.S. House and Senate and an Executive controlled by unnamed far leftists in place of a clinically incompetent President Biden? They are desperate to keep power and complete their radical progressive agenda that will change America and our liberty forever.
Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.
Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about.
It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.
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