McClaughry: Scott and school choice

By John McClaughry

A week ago, Gov. Phil Scott’s new press secretary, Jason Maulucci, told the media that the governor is “willing to have the conversation about changing how we pay for education.” But he said that conversation must also examine the state’s spending on education “with a focus on equity.”

Maulucci continued: “There is unacceptable inequality of opportunity from district to district. With the nearly $2 billion we already spend, Vermont’s kids should have more opportunities, more choices, and better outcomes.”

Maulucci said the Scott administration looks forward to reviewing the recommendations of the Tax Structure Commission, which favors shifting the entire education budget onto the state income tax, but the governor “has been clear since he took office that he is only interested in proposals that reduce the tax burden on Vermonters and make Vermont more affordable.”

That’s a stock reply from a press spokesman who doesn’t have anything to announce, but it’s interesting that he advocated for “more choices” in education.

Would expanded parental choice in education reduce the tax burden on Vermonters? What do you suppose Vermont education would look like if the state gave two-thirds of the pre-pandemic $19,280 dollars per pupil per year to the parents, let the parents choose the education providers, and reduced the tax burden by $600 million dollars?

Expanding parental choice is the only substantive plank in the Vermont Republican platform. The governor takes the lead in making it happen.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Guy Page

5 thoughts on “McClaughry: Scott and school choice

  1. Vermont’s current education monopoly is academic socialism. With one size fits all, we miss out on a learning process where entrepreneurs copy others when they see things successful and stop doing things when they’re not. School Choice expands the education marketplace. Because social and economic reality evolves every day, a free market of decentralized educational entrepreneurs and consumers make fine-tuning adjustments every day too. Centralized governance is not only incapable of adjusting in a timely fashion, it has no idea what adjustments to make in the first place.

    If more choices and better outcomes (economic and academic) were really the intent of Scott’s administration, School Choice Tuitioning for all Vermont parents is the obvious remedy to the State’s current education dystopia. It only follows then, just as obviously, that Scott’s intentions are otherwise – and likely driven by the massive public education special interest network headed by the chair of the State Board of Education’s Legislative Committee, Bill Mathis. Mr. Mathis, in his other incarnation, is the managing director of the National Education Policy Center in Boulder, CO. The NEPC is part of the public school lobby, funded in large part by education special interests like the teacher’s unions.

    Scott’s talk is cheap. It takes money to get results. And Scott, as with most other Vermont legislators, know on which side their political bread is buttered.

    • Re: “Expanding parental choice is the only substantive plank in the Vermont Republican platform. The governor takes the lead in making it happen.”

      But we all know Scott is a RINO – expanding parental choice is nothing more than a racist, white supremacist, insurrection foisted on those of us who are too ignorant (or evil) to know better.

      • Have you no confidence in Parents of ALL skin’s ability to chose?

        $20,000 available for education will offer MANY choices for ALL our students

        It was Racist in the South, when the black kids had to go only to the black schools. No choice then, no choice for most parents now!

        • What!?

          What in the world did I say that would lead you to believe I have no confidence in ‘Parents of ALL skin’s’ ability to chose? What do you think School Choice is?

          You obfuscate the facts, ignorantly or intentionally I suspect. Vermont taxpayers do pay about $20K per student in the public school monopoly (more than that in fact). But parents can’t choose where that money goes on their children’s behalf.

          Re: “It was Racist in the South, when the black kids had to go only to the black schools. No choice then, no choice for most parents now!”

          Yep. That’s the point. ‘No choice then, no choice for most parents now!’ Vermont’s public education system is clearly an insurrection cast upon all parents without the financial means to choose the school they believe best meets the needs of their children. School Choice is the civil rights issue of our time.

  2. We’d have smart kids. We’d have happy parents. We’d be paying less in taxes, due to more competition. Our kids would know science, civics, math. We’d be more prosperous, more young people would stay in the state. More people would earn more money.

    It does go against the grain of the NWO… it’s a tough for the Montpelier crowd to adopt.

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