As January comes to a close, school choice week in Idaho begins. The Madison Liberty Institute stands with the citizens of Idaho and their freedom to choose the educational opportunities that best fit their family’s needs. There are three key reasons why educational freedom is an important issue for Madison Liberty. Educational freedom builds competition into education and forces schools to be held accountable. It also saves the taxpayer money, and it provides better education options for all Idahoans, especially low-income students and their families.
In Idaho, and across the country, public schools and teachers’ unions enjoy a near-monopoly on the education of children. This discourages free-market principles and limits competition which in turn diminishes the quality of children’s education. Educational freedom allows parents to move children from schools, or situations, that do not meet their needs to better ones, thereby requiring all schools to increase their overall quality of education to keep students.
Because of the increased competition caused by educational freedom, schools are being forced to use their funds more efficiently if they wish to maintain students and funding. As an incentive, educational dollars would be spent on classrooms and curriculum rather than on administration and union perks, creating tax relief opportunities for Idaho families across the state.
The final, and most important, reason for educational freedom is the benefits it has for low-income families. Education is crucial for economic mobility in society. Thus, to break the chains of generational poverty, children must be given access to schools that will help them escape poverty. Without educational freedom, poor children are locked into sub-par school districts that fail to give them a leg up out of the economic hole in which they were born into. With educational freedom, children can be granted opportunities for growth that will help them to become, not only personally successful, but also beneficial to their families, their communities, and society at large.
Though educational freedom is often considered to be a controversial issue, it should not be. Educational freedom is a crucial aspect of the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Educational freedom creates opportunities for economic growth and allows individuals to break cycles of poverty. Because of these reasons, Idahoans must take a leadership role in the country as citizens who lead the state and the nation towards a future of educational freedom filled with all the opportunities that come with it.
Matthew Veach is Policy and Research Intern who is currently pursuing a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Policy while minoring in Political Science and Public Administration at BYU-Idaho. He will graduate in July 2021 then pursue a Master of Public Administration beginning in Fall 2021.