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Do You Know What is Really at the Heart of the Matter Here?

Competition is a good thing. Monopolies will work very hard to eliminate it. But, consumers win when they have choices.

Do you remember your first computer?  Back then, we were amazed at what they could do and how cool it was to be able to use email.  It may have cost us a couple thousand dollars but, hey! they were worth it!  Over time, more and more companies entered the marketplace creating competition and cooler/faster/smaller gadgets/less expensive products were constantly introduced.  The competition created an environment in which those who wanted to do well had to continually find ways to be "the best".  Competition forces providers to keep up to survive.

Starting in the late 1800s, our government began enacting anti-trust laws when it became evident that large, powerful companies were squashing their competition and controlling prices.  In 1948 in The United States v. Colombia Steel Company, Justice Douglas clarified that "[industrial power] should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people  will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men."

When it comes to your child's education, your choices are few.  As a taxpayer, you are paying the government to provide schooling for your child – so a school is appointed to him or her.  The alternatives are to home school or to pay a private institution to educate your child.  Two expensive options.

But, what if you had another choice?  What if the school for which you were zoned didn't best fit your needs and you were unable to home-school or send your child to private school?  Wouldn't it be great if you could still keep your child in public school – but a school of your choosing?  Charter schools are public schools that are subject to all the laws and standards of other public schools.  A difference is that they have more freedomes in curriculum and approaches to teaching their students.  For many kids, this is a huge blessing.  Charter schools also mean competition – and as we know, competition generally means across-the-board improvement and innovation.  However, monopolies really don't like competition and try to eliminate it.

As parents, we want what is best for our kids.  We must allow parents the freedom to exercise choice of schooling for their children.  Even if you aren't pro-charter school, surely you are pro-parent.  Allowing parents to choose from educational options challenges the status quo and forces ALL schools to improve.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Debbie Pascoe October 28, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Lemme defend the teachers out there, though. Well, a little. I have met many, many teachers who are PRO school choice. I met some yesterday at the school choice rally I attended, in fact. They entered the profession because they wanted to teach kids and make a difference -- and they're frustrated by the system. All of it -- the day to day being made to fit in a box of what is allowed and the continual barrage of anti-school choice stuff coming "from the top". So, in defense of teachers, so many are fed lie after scare tactic after thinly-veiled threat, they retreat into self-preservation mode. But many are joining the cause because they see the truth of the situation and really do want what is best for the kids -- just like we do. I feel like the teachers are on our team -- just some of them are living Stockholm Syndrome lives or are truly afraid for their jobs. Hey teachers, we got your back! We love you guys!
Kids First October 29, 2012 at 03:02 AM
You're right Debbie. I've talked to a lot of teachers as well the last few months. They're the ones who know they could make a difference if only they had some flexibility to try different things. I agree with @ACT that voting in a responsible school board is important but that can be nearly impossible. Did you know that the Gwinnett County board averages 20 something years? Even if you take the one that's been there 40 years, the others average like 16 years. I guess if start now, my great grandchildren might see the results. A yes vote will allow the state to continue what it was doing successfully for 3 years. They approved 16 of nearly 60 petitions....not too crazy. And those schools are doing better than their neighborhood schools.
Jim Beam November 01, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Right now, when districts are faced with the choice of: - Continuing taxpayer-subsidized monthly vehicle stipends for superintendents who are already making hundreds of thousands of $$$ salaries or - Increasing teacher pay 100% of local boards choose Superintendent Sycophancy and screw over the teachers with more furlough days to protect the 6-figure salaries and ludicrous package of perks for the superintendents. What's more bizarre is the Stockholm Syndrome teachers who line up to approve this self-shafting! But to the NO crowd, superintendents who shovel millions of tax $$$ into their pockets aren't really "profiting" from this. I guess all that money is just a charitable contribution? Why does the NO crowd absolutely hate competition? Why would anyone vote to continue this crony-filled joke of a system?
Jim Beam November 01, 2012 at 09:55 PM
You know what is true of GA public schools? That at least one district has been caught altering test scores so that they'll continue to get money shoveled into the district. It's called APS and it's a direct result of the ideology of the current traditional public school system that the NO crowd so vociferously defends. It's why I don't believe most of these NO people have any interest in education whatsoever. They just want to keep the taxpayer spigots turned to Full ON, damn the children.
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