School Choice is Freedom

Travis Groo here, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Wake County in North Carolina. I’m passionate about parents deciding the best method of education for their kid(s). Every child learns differently, and at different paces. There is no one size fits all curriculum, unless I just haven’t discovered it yet (if you find it, please do send it my way). One thing I do know for certain though, is that I do not want the state dictating how, when and where my kids learn. Perhaps some of you feel the same?

“What is the purpose of industrial education? To fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence? Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States and that is its aim everywhere else.”—H. L. Mencken

I began my schooling when I was 5 years old, like most kids. My mom, who was opposed to sending us to public schools, co-founded a Christian school in the little, northeast Texas town in which we were living. She did not want us indoctrinated by the state’s version of education. My sister went to the same school for all of K-12, while I went from K-9 until we moved to Florida.

My mother accepted new employment at another Christian school, where I attended 10th grade, until I got expelled. I certainly hit my “rebellious years” around that time, and wanted to get out of the Christian school system and attend public school. I feel remorseful for the way I interacted with teachers, as I did not give them a good time! I found myself not fitting in very well, and felt isolated at times, like an outcast. Needless to say, I finished my last two years at a public high school. I still didn’t fit in, but it was where I thought I wanted to be. Looking back, I’m thankful for my mother trying her hardest to educate my sister and I the best possible way she knew how to.

I now have two beautiful children of my own. They were both born in Atlanta. The public schools in that area were so mismanaged and in such disarray, that our county schools almost lost their accreditation. The county adjacent to us actually did lose it. We homeschooled them for the first two years out of pure necessity. The closest private school with decent reviews was over 45 minutes away. In Atlanta traffic, that is no fun. I have so much respect for any mothers or fathers who take on this challenge. I think it takes a lot of focus, commitment and dedication to homeschool, as it was a good temporary choice for my family at the time.

After relocating to Raleigh, we enrolled our children in a Christian school, in which we are all very happy! They are excelling in every area. We are currently utilizing the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides money for eligible full-time, non public school students to attend the school of their choice. It doesn’t pay for all of their tuition, but a good portion of it. I am so happy about this opportunity, because it helps us send our kids to a school that we feel is best for them, where otherwise we would not be able to afford it. Plus, my kids love where they’re going, and I am elated.

Choice is freedom. If a government-run district school is not performing well, then no amount of money is going to help.

It’s not necessarily about money! Adding more money to a broken system is like pouring water into a jug with holes punched in the side of it. We must first plug the holes, or we are wasting valuable resources. They either have bad methods that need to be evaluated and changed, or the students will suffer the consequences.

Either way, just like any business, if it fails, another business that offers a better service will come in to attempt success where the other business did not. The free market approach to education works the same way. Parents are pulling their kids out of bad schools all of the time, and sending them to better schools, however; the education funds should follow the students, not the schools. If a particular school closes because parents decide to send their kids elsewhere, and the school loses money because their headcount drops, then it’s very possible that it needed to close.

I’d like to see a more capitalistic approach to our education system, and expand North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program to all families. Let parents decide what works best. They know their kids better than anyone else. The state is certainly not fit to be our parental guidance. Thank you for reading. May the CHOICE be with you.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Travis Groo

Travis Groo is a principled Libertarian and a self-motivated human who believes that hard work always pays off. He works towards a free, peaceful, and prosperous world where every individual has the opportunity to pursue their unique vision of a rewarding and enriching life. He wants to see the world set free in our lifetime. Groo is defending ALL of our freedoms, ALL of the time.

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