The American taxpayer has long accepted that education is a public good – something worthy of funding with the common purse. Until recently, a majority of Americans, including parents, have also believed that public schools are a generally the right vehicle for that funding. However, opinion has changed rapidly, and the response by school administrators to COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of that change. A new survey finds that more than 80% of parents believe that taxpayer funds should follow students to whatever schools they attend, rather than defaulting to the defective public school system.
Even more tellingly, Matt Welch reports that "Families are Fleeing Government Run Schools" – voting with their kids' feet, as it were, against the sudden and unpredictable closures and suspensions of in-person learning. Welch, an editor at large at Reason Magazine, has been reporting on the shift taking place among the population – with an increasing number of both upper and lower-class progressives suddenly embracing school choice when the dysfunction of government-run schools became too glaring to ignore. He joined me to explain why parents are taking their kids out of public schools, and where they are all going.
Have the teachers' unions overplayed their hand in demanding indefinite virtual learning and protections for their members at the expense of learning outcomes for children?\