Fox News “Outnumbered” host Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery believes that we should just get rid of public schools altogether. That idea came during discussion about Oklahoma’s decision to get rid of the AP History curriculum, according to Talking Points Memo. Her idea is that public schools take away the right of parents to have full freedom of choice over their children’s education. She specifically said:
There really shouldn’t be public schools, should there? I mean we should really go to a system where parents of every stripe have a choice, have a say in the kind of education their kids get because, when we have centralized, bureaucratic education doctrines and dogmas like this, that’s exactly what happens.
She also said, later in the show:
You’re already paying for [public schooling] with your taxes. What if you got that money back, whichever, you know, county or city, however much they allocate to your child’s education? What if you got that back and you got to decide? And you had a say in your teachers and where your kids went to school.
The first question that raises, that anybody who advocates this should find a way to answer, is exactly how would the schools get their funding, then? Tuition? Make them like expensive private schools? What a fantastic idea…if your goal is to deny a quality education to any child whose family can’t afford the tuition. We already have that problem with universities. There’s a reason private schools are so exclusive. Keeping and maintaining enough schools to educate all of this country’s children is a monumental task that cannot be handled through tuition.
Okay, so, what about vouchers, then? According to the National Educators Association (NEA), vouchers have utterly failed in expanding educational choices. Furthermore, public opinion polls have shown that the public would much rather strengthen and improve the existing public school system than expand voucher programs.
What if we use vouchers to fund all the schools? Then, surely, the voucher programs will work, won’t they? Probably, but that completely defeats the purpose of eliminating the taxpayer-funded public school system, since those vouchers will have to get funding from somewhere.
Montgomery is actually a proponent of charter schools. Charter schools operate outside the public school system, but still receive…public funding. So that doesn’t do much for the tax problem that Montgomery has. They do exist outside the teachers’ unions, too, and are free to solicit donations to bolster their funding, since the receive fewer taxpayer dollars than public schools do. However, they still receive public funding.
Findings on whether charter schools are effective in boosting educational outcomes and opportunities are mixed, according to Slate. In some areas, they work beautifully. In others, not so much. We could, technically, make the entire public school system over into a charter system. However, with less public funding and the need to solicit donations, along with the problems that inner-city charters would likely face, it’s not a practical alternative to the entire public school system. Charter schools work best when they’re the alternative, not the only choice in existence.
It’s impressive, really, how these people can throw these ideas out there as though simply abolishing something as entrenched as the public school system is easy. It’s also astounding how many Faux News pundits do not give any thought to these ideas. They just want government out of everything, and who cares what consequences doing so will bring upon us.
Watch her full comments below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1Hg1PSE37Y?rel=0&w=420&h=315]
Featured image via screen capture from Fox News “Outnumbered” video