Lloyd Brown: School choice opponents are relentless in pursuit of inequality

florida education

Tampa businessman John Kirtley, one of Florida’s leading advocates for children, told the Economic Club of Florida last month that school choice has improved education.

But, thousands of students could be forced to return to failing government schools if a lawsuit filed by special interests succeeds in killing the tax incentive scholarship program, he said.

Big Education is a liberal money machine. Liberal politicians throw money at the schools, ignoring accountability for the funds, and most of the money goes to teachers. Teacher unions get a cut of that money, and millions of union dollars go to funding political campaigns for liberal politicians.

The cycle continues, as it did for decades before school choice came upon the scene.

School choice merely offers poor children the same opportunity that more affluent families have — including families of schoolteachers, administrators and politicians.

So, disregard all the feigned liberal concern for “equality.” When it comes to education, greedy, high-salaried union bosses don’t give a fig about equality.

What is most galling is the blatantly illogical argument they use to justify their attack on the most vulnerable.

When new students go to government schools, they say, it costs more money.

Yet, when students choose a school outside the Big Education monopoly, they say, it costs the government schools money.

Obviously, both statements cannot be true. Yet, these are made by some of the people involved in teaching our children basic math and “critical thinking.”

The fact is that government schools are paid a certain amount to educate each child. If a child is not in the schools, the schools don’t have the expense, so they are not given the money.

Union bosses are in court arguing that the tax scholarships Kirtley helped create are unconstitutional, based on some vague words added to the State Constitution several years ago at the union’s urging.

However, the attack on school choice is nationwide, and it is aided and abetted by the head of the executive branch of the federal government.

America’s half-black president claims to be an advocate for black children, but for years, he has been trying to crush the school choice program in the nation’s capital. Thousands of black parents were clamoring for the few opportunities available to them under the Washington, D.C. program when liberals ordered the program to end. The House just voted a reprieve, but it could die in the Senate or be vetoed by the president.

This despite the fact that only 37 percent of students graduate with the ability to tackle college math and reading.

As school choice advocates have demonstrated, there is considerable liberal support for the program in Florida, but the opposition is entirely from the far left.

Black parents might indeed wonder if there is a vast, left-wing conspiracy to deny their children an education by denying them equal opportunity.

Florida parents merely are asking the education pharaohs: “Let our people go.”


Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement, he served as a policy analyst for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

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