Fund students, not systems! 

Despite the clever phrase, proponents of ESA legislation are eerily silent when discussing the government regulation that is attached to ALL government money, including when it is used for private and homeschools. The accompanying slogans that parents should be allowed to take the money that “belongs to them” and choose the “education that is best for their child,” offers hope to many desperate parents looking for an easy financial exit from an incompetent system that appears to be hell-bent on indoctrinating their kids. And yet, their proposed solution would in essence place all students, public, private, parochial, and homeschooled into one system—a funded system. A system that would still be funded and controlled by the government.

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is one entity that has been surprisingly transparent about the strings attached to government money. They have been charged with seeing the U.N.’s sustainable development goal (Quality and Inclusive Education for All) through to completion by 2030. This subject was addressed in a background paper commissioned for their Global Education Monitoring Report that was highlighted in the article The Strings of School Choice. The report’s authors describe how public money funding private schools and the regulations that come with it, can be utilized as “the main policy option to tackle education inequalities resulting from private actors’ involvement in the provision of education.”  The paper states that the regulation of evaluation (assessments) and accountability frameworks “play a strategic role in promoting that all publicly-funded schools, independently of their ownership, are correctly aligned with quality standards and also with the equity goals and objectives set by the government.”  

It goes on to describe just some of the equity oriented regulatory strategies that can be enforced in the private education sector. They urge all governments to, “see all institutions, students and teachers as part of a single system. Standards, information, incentives, and accountability should help governments protect, respect and fulfill the right to education of all, without turning their eyes away from privilege or exploitation.

While students would have access to some of the public school funding, the system would also be financially rewarded. When all forms of education are viewed as a single system, all of which must be “correctly aligned,” all substantive choice will be removed. One is reminded of the Henry Ford quote, “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants, as long as it is black,”

A homeschool student who is enrolled in an ESA becomes a part of the system and this results in the loss of parental control through regulations. The government must control everything that it funds, without exception. The system will continue to control the funds through the funding mechanism that they set up to administer them.