I wrote my dissertation for my doctorate on the topic of school choice. I did this because I taught at a failing public school and although I did all I could I could see that the students were trapped there. I believe that parents have the God-given right to make choices about the education of their children. In studying the education laws, which began when I was elected to the Fayette County School Board in 2012, I found that the school rating system had changed. It was no longer based only on academics. The rating includes all types of bonus points so that these incentives are used to control the policies and procedures of the schools. This system applies to charter schools as well, and even more so. The elected officials at the local school board level do not have authority over what is taught, when it is taught, and how it is assessed for school rating purposes.
About public money for private schools: If you look at the short term, then you see money going to the private schools as a fair and good thing to do because the parents are making the choices about where the students go, and one might assume that they would also be able to choose schools that teach what the parents want taught. However, if you look down the road at the long term, you see that the bills that have been proposed send the money to the private schools, they take the money for several years, and then the same control based standards and assessments must be used, along with the bonus points. So, what one might think is a good thing at the end of the road ends up being more government control and fewer choices because the privates that don't take the money from the government will not be able to compete. We see this in many other countries that have public money going to "private" education such as Canada, Germany, and Australia. If we are going to send taxpayer money to private schools, we will have to do it so that they are tax credits or something that does not lead to a government takeover. I have been fighting to get the federal government out of the local schools that are supposed to answer to a local school board.
I have also been fighting to get rid of the lower level standards that we have adopted as a state in language arts, math, science, and social studies. If we lose the battle to keep locally elected officials in the driver's seat in terms of meeting the needs of the students, sooner or later all the other battles will be lost as well. Right now the unions are battling with the people who want to open up the flow of education money to private organizations and corporations. They are not battling about what is taught, how it is taught, how it is assessed or the one size fits all government controlled system that is now set up because of the laws passed at the federal and state level. I see moms and dads battling this, but I don't see the big corporations that want the tax dollars or the unions even discussing the fact that students, parents, and teachers, the ones who care most about the children, do not have a say in what is being done. That is what I care about and that is where school choice begins for me.