“E.g it would help America/Britain far more to close 99% of ‘conservative’ think tank activity in DC/London and put the energy and money into expanding school choice and breaking the state’s grip on education by creating new institutions, given how much of politics is downstream of education and how ineffectual most conservative thinking/activity is.”
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Agreed… and allow me to add some additional points.
First the model is Arizona. Not only does it have nearly 600 charter schools, open enrollment across school districts, but now it has a voucher system which allows any parent to withdraw their child from the public school system and claim the dollars used as state aid ($7,000) to be used for private, parochial, or home school education. That’s about as easy, as frictionless you are going to get.
Put it in context. Last year in Loudoun County, Virginia there were large parent protests at the county school board meetings, the reasons for which were several: frustration at how schools were kept closed during COVID, curriculum such as CRT, and the cover-up of a gender-fluid boy committing multiple sexual assaults. The response by the Left and the K-12 establishment was basically “Fine, you don’t like the public school so why don’t you take your kid and send him to a private one.” That’s a big step for parents, a big leap into the unknown, not only for cost issues but for the great leap into the unknown (Virginia does not allow open enrollment and has only 7 charter schools in the whole state.) That’s a lot of friction.
Arizona’s solution has eliminated that friction, it provides an established protocol for getting their kids out of public school and helping parents to finance their education. So what can think tanks, which in a lot of cases are just money-grubbers who would happily reinvent the wheel if they could find a sucker/donor, do so that they are part of the solution and not the problem?
1) Protect and grow the market. Arizona’s voucher (Empowerment Scholarship)program nearly escaped being challenged on a ballot initiative this year and will most certainly face one in 2024, financed by the teacher unions and all their cronies. That initiative must be defeated Also the best defense is a good offense, the think tanks with the right people would be ideal in helping other states use Arizona as a model for developing their own school choice programs.
2) Bring in additional partners, especially outside capital. Think-tanks, through their media and contacts can shine a giant spotlight onto Arizona and the school choice excitement to bring additional partners into the game. Right now I have seen estimates of 10,000 to 20,000 voucher students in the first year, that is a $70 to $140 million first year pie for someone who can provide private school spaces and homeschooling support. What if the program really takes off and you get 100,000 students involved? Do you think Arizona currently has enough private/parochial school capacity to support that number? I smell opportunity and if a private provider can make expanding capacity (or systemizing home schooling support) work in AZ, they will ideally placed when the Arizona model expands to other states.
There you go, school choice and how think tanks can play a part. The funny think is I notice on the coasts that the K-12 establishment is fighting for things like woke curriculum and against charter schools. What we are talking about here is next generation because if it works, the whole K-12 system itself will change
The Tucson unified school district had a vacant school, no longer needed. The school district tried to sell that school to a developer to keep it from being bought by a private/voucher school. The incoming Democrat governor Katie Hobbs, who used her position as Secretary of State to “manage” the recent election, will be as hostile to school choice as we could expect from a George Soros politician. The Democrats have huge amounts of money for elections coming from their billionaire supporters.
The state has strong incentives to keep their grip locked tight on education.
-John R. Lott
-Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism
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Certainly what the Republicans and/or conservatives have is plenty of “thinking” and “programs”. I remember when Mittens was going to fix the economy with a mere 54 point program, he had it all written down in a binder or something. They end up chasing their tales but never getting anything done. This is either enduring admantine stupidity or careful planning.
and now he’s for a carbon tax, I try to pretend I ever voted for romney or ryan, even though I voted for newt in the florida primary in 2012, part of my iconoclastic nature,
that line that jesus said ‘the poor will always be with us, is misinterpreted, he was speaking of opportunities to speak to him, but a permanent proletariat is obligatory for progs,
The problem with closing the conservative think tanks is, the people that work in them want to work there, as opposed to actually go out and try and change things. Talk is easy. Doing is hard.
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