Many people have asked why Libertas, a free market, individual freedom think tank, supports education spending accounts (ESA)?
Here are three reasons why we support this program.
First, parents know their children best.
An ESA is designed to put parents in control of the state funding for their child. Parents are able to then make decisions about what education option is best for their student.
Second, public education is a social system like welfare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
The unfortunate reality is that parents are currently reliant on the education system. It feels “free” because it is paid with tax dollars. But remember tax dollars originally came from the people.
Unlike other social programs, families are not allowed to choose how those social services are received. Families on food stamps are able to choose the best grocery store for them. They aren’t assigned to the local neighborhood Walmart.
Similarly, families should be able to choose where their children attend school. Unfortunately, compulsory education laws dictate that children must attend school and where they must go.
Providing families with access to an ESA will allow them the freedom to choose the best educational fit for their children.
Third, states with ESAs are showing an increase in schools for parents to choose from.
Arizona, West Virginia and Florida are seeing a proliferation of options in their state after passing education choice bills. Many of these offerings are leading to amazing innovation that is improving education for children.
The LiberatED Podcast from Kerry McDonald highlights many of these innovations.
These education entrepreneurs have realized that having a child sit still for multiple hours a day is opposed to the nature of being a child. They emphasize the interests of the children, while providing them a structure for growth.
In a perfect world, I would stop having the government take taxes to provide a one-size-fits-all education that isn’t meeting the needs of every child. But until Utah gets to that point we will continue to support ESAs.