Beverly’s Blog

School Choice and Jobs v. Income Inequality

What is the main cause of income inequality in America? It comes down to jobs. Without a good, well-paying job, the poor remain poor. How do we fix this? With the availability of well-paying jobs, and the availability of people, especially our young people, to get the education and training that are required for them to qualify for and be hired for these good jobs.

The truth is, the government will never be able to use taxes and redistribution payments to dissolve inequality. If politicians really cared about advancing the lives of the less fortunate, the first thing they would do is free up our schools, so students in poor communities could learn in better, safer environments. This is our goal for District 11, and this is the agenda I will support when you elect me to Congress.

School choice has long been favored by parents of students in struggling and underfunded school districts. Let’s look at how minority groups feel about this issue. A Friedman Foundation survey found that while 92 percent of Hispanic parents send their children to public schools, only 32 percent would continue to do so if given a choice among public, private, charter, and home schooling. On the issue of school choice specifically, an overwhelming 71 percent favored school choice – that is to say the government funding students to go to the school of their choice, rather than simply limiting them to the public school in their district. Only 24 percent of Hispanic parents in that study opposed school choice.

These numbers are similar among black parents. A study by the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunity found that about 60 percent of black parents support government-funded vouchers for school choice, and 70 percent said they support providing parents with more educational choices in their local school districts.

The strong support among diverse groups is no surprise. Education provides the clearest path to prosperity for all struggling groups. It leads to readiness to get good jobs. Under the current system, only wealthy parents have a legitimate choice of how to educate their children. Parents who are less wealthy cannot afford to send their children to private schools or hire private tutors. As a result, less fortunate families are limited to sending their children to the public schools in their districts. Most parents also cannot afford to quit their jobs or cut hours to homeschool their children themselves, nor without first learning additional teaching skills do most parents possess the knowledge base to provide sufficient home school education. Lastly, many of these parents cannot afford housing in districts with better public schools, or simply may not be able to move due to personal or work-related obligations. This means that for lower-income families, there is only one available choice of schooling for their children: right where they live.

School choice programs offer both short- and long-term solutions to the problem of failing inner-city schools. In the short term, these programs allow poorer students to switch to better schools, public, charter or private. This gives these students a true chance at a quality education resulting in good jobs, rather than subjecting them to the failing public schools in their districts. Long-term, school choice brings competition for student enrollment into the marketplace of public, charter, and private schools, and home schooling, which improves the quality of all schools.

Nobel laureate economist Dr. Milton Friedman once said that for black people in the lowest income classes, and for black people who have been most affected by discrimination, “[t]here is not anything you could do that would be more effective than the voucher system.” Today’s students are suffering because of a lack of competition among public schools. Because students are required to go to the public schools in their districts, public schools do not have to compete at all, not even with each other.

Social safety nets are very important, and must be maintained for those who are not yet supporting themselves. Your representative in Congress must make sure that the safety nets remain in place as our District-11 residents and families begin the processes of securing better educational opportunities, better reading skills, better job training and better paying secure jobs.

Your representative in Congress must fight for issues and programs which will make the social safety net much less necessary for most of the people who have to use it now. How can this happen? Jobs, jobs, jobs. And how will our children become qualified to get these jobs? Through educational choice, leading to better educated students/job seekers.

Dr. Beverly Goldstein is the candidate who will fight in Congress for better educational opportunities for our children and grandchildren, our most important community resource, so they will get the better paying jobs which lead families to more stable living conditions, more prosperity and greater happiness.

A tip to Harrison Garrett writing in American Thinker for his statistics and analysis, and for his thoughtful language.

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