Public Ed Is Sinking. Is There a Solution?

Swim or Sink
"I fear that, as conditions worsen, many will react to the failures of too much government by calling for even more government. Then there will be more and more lifeboats launched because fewer and fewer citizens know how to swim."
Neal A. Maxwell
Public Ed is Sinking.
Is There a Solution?
The Utah Fits All Scholarship is one such "lifeboat" that demands more government in response to the failures of government, while advocating that an entirely new sector of society become dependent on government by partaking of this new government subsidy. This sector, that has traditionally looked to God, not government for help, is now leading the charge demanding more and more government to save them from the failures of too much government.
Who Knows Best for You & Your Family?
When the only "choice" left is that which government has precurated and approved for families, that is when we have effectively raised the white flag of surrender and given away our God-given agency and familial privacy and autonomy. In doing so, we are, knowingly or unknowingly, proclaiming that "government knows best" instead of "Father knows best."

If the government funds it, the government controls it.
True Choice Isn't Government-Funded
Government funded "School Choice" schemes do not equal true educational freedom. The Utah Fits All website states the scholarship money can only be spent on "eligible providers and approved vendors." This limits, not expands, the full range of choices already available to parents in Utah.
Do Your Job.
Reign in the System.
Rather than crying, "Government, save us from government by creating more government-funded solutions," the people should be demanding that government do its job by securing true educational freedom and fixing the problems that began with government exceeding its proper role.

We have some suggestions....
Government should start by using its power to undo all the failed legislation, administrative rules, and policies that created this education nightmare for families in the first place.
Government should help charter schools become truly free to teach how and what they want.
Government should do away with compulsory education laws so the free market can actually function in ways it currently cannot due to the captured nature of the market.
The state should hold its agents accountable for facilitating, in any way, the transformation of public education into ideological re-education centers.
Government should secure and protect the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution so that no person is compelled or coerced to violate their conscience in any way, shape, or form—whether by overt means of harassment, discrimination, and punishment, or by more subversive means and penalties, such as creating barriers that prevent meaningful participation in society for those that refuse to violate their God-given sense of right and wrong.
The state should uphold & enforce laws that protect & respect the autonomy & privacy of families.

Parents always retain the God-given right to raise & educate their children according to the dictates of their own conscience, and instill within their children their own values, attitudes & beliefs—the state, its operatives, public-private partnerships, or systems must not directly threaten, interfere, undermine, or co-opt their efforts in any way, whatsoever.
Don't Trade Freedom for Freebies
The price you pay for “something for nothing” may be more than you can afford. Do not rationalize your acceptance of government gratuities by saying, “I am a contributing taxpayer too.”

Ezra Taft Benson
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School Choice Does Not Fit Freedom

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Why is the Radical NEA Teaming Up with "School Choice" Advocates?

Becky Pringle, President of the National Education Association teacher’s union, and Giséle Huff, of the “school choice” advocacy group Education Reimagined, team up to advance “School Choice” initiatives, by whatever name they go by, including:

Blended learning  •  disruptive technology  •  deeper learning  •  connected learning  •  personalized learninG  •  social and emotional learning  •  community schooling  •  out-of-school learning  •  student-centered learning  • learner validated  •   competency based learning  •  school choice

School Choice: The Birth of a Bad Idea & the Unholy Alliance of Public and Private Education

The "School Choice" Bait and Switch

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"School Choice" Really Means less Choice and More Government

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School Choice Promotes the U.N.'s Vision of All Schooling Being Combined Under a Single System

Proponents of legislation that make public education funds available for use in the private education sector have incredible marketing slogans. “Fund students not systems” they say. The accompanying mantra that parents should be able to “take the money that belongs to them” and “choose what education is best for their child” offers hope to droves of desperate parents looking for an easy exit to an incompetent system that seems hell-bent on indoctrinating their kids.

Unfortunately, those same proponents who are very vocal when it comes to the supposed benefits of ESAs and vouchers are eerily silent when it comes to being honest about the strings attached to public money and how it could be used to bring regulation into private and homeschools.

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"School Choice" Programs Are Globalist, Not Grassroots

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Why Are Home and Private Schools Being Targeted by the Government?

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Frequently Asked Questions about School Choice

Utah used to have educational freedom. Parents could choose to send their kids to any school in the state, regardless of zip code. Parents were free to choose:

A) Government controlled and regulated schools (public or charter), or 

B) Non-government controlled and regulated schools (private or home-based)

Choice B involves a trade-off—government doesn’t pay for these options, but parents have the freedom to choose exactly how and what they want their children to learn, without government oversight and regulation. 

School Choice legislation, HB 215, was pushed by special interests and passed by the state legislature in 2023.  Now parents will be able to receive government money in exchange for access to their children. Instead of creating more choice, this public-private partnership will ensure an education system that is even more top-heavy than before, with the power to make choices concentrated in the hands of government, outside parties, and the state’s approved vendors and eligible providers.

Some of the synonyms for school choice are vouchers, education scholarship accounts, backpack funding (data backpacks), empowerment accounts, “funding students not systems,” “money follows the child,” “anytime, anywhere learning,” “learner validated,” “personalized learning,” “competency based education,” and “flexible learning.”

In 2022, School Choice advocates and marketers promoted HB331, the HOPE Scholarship, at the Utah State legislature. Priced at $36 million, the scholarship bill failed to pass through the Republican-controlled legislature by a 22-53 vote.

The HOPE Scholarship was supported by Allison Sorensen’s Education Opportunity for Every Child, Utah Parents United, Libertas Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and Jeb Bush’s educational equity policy organization, ExcelInEd.

In 2023, the HOPE Scholarship was rebranded by Education Opportunity for Every Child as the Utah Fits All Scholarship. At the promised $8000 per student, the price tag for the Utah Fits All Scholarship would amount to approximately $5.2 billion if made available to all Utah’s 675,000 students.

No! School Choice programs are not conservative, and here’s why:

[School choice] will not result in lowering tuition costs. And how will competition happen once the mandates follow the money? Pretty soon the private schools will look just like the public schools.

I will give you an example. Indiana’s voucher program ended up creating all kinds of regulations on the private schools that were not there before, particularly the curriculum and the testing—which drives the style of teaching.

Indiana passed the first state-wide voucher program in the U.S. about 15 years ago. According to Adam Schaeffer, Policy Analyst, Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom (a conservative think tank):

“…[T]he voucher program will not only expand state control over and homogenize participating schools by requiring adherence to a single state-designed test, evaluation, and curriculum, it will also cut into the market for non-accredited (non-voucher) schools. The likely effect is a serious loss of education freedom and diversity of options in the medium-term and a near-total loss in the long term.

The voucher law places private schools under the supervision of the state Department of Education, making them accountable to career bureaucrats and political appointees for performance on government standards and curriculum. It is an authorization and framework of accountability to the state, rather than to parents and taxpayers directly.”

David N. Cox



States like Indiana and Louisiana that started sending government funding into K-12 private schools a decade ago are now to the point where they sanction private schools for low test scores on state-standardized tests.

While we can point to some states that haven’t gone as far as Indiana and Louisiana, the fact is that, it’s only a matter of time. This is why Hillsdale College has stayed independent. They refuse to take Pell grants or any dime of government funding.

On the flip side, private schools like BYU have taken federal grants for tuition and research, and now parents are realizing just how steeped BYU is with Critical Race Theory curriculum.

JaKell Sullivan



When you get federal dollars to make sure your teachers are properly licensed and now you’ve wrapped home and private school into the mix of government accountability…. what will the outside-the-box education options be then?

How a “market” works is the private schools that don’t take state or federal funding will be more expensive and will struggle to stay afloat. It’s the same argument I made a decade ago about traditional math. When you have 38 states all adopting the same math puritan via Common Core, how long is there a market for traditional math programs? It declines rapidly over time. That’s why American Heritage is struggling because Saxon is no longer going to publish their non-Common Core versions of their math books. They don’t have to destroy it all at once. They put the structure in place and it falls of its own accord.

Similarly, because there will now be extra kids in the publicly funded system, there is no way taxation doesn’t increase over time. That means that those who don’t take the money to homeschool initially, may get to the point where they have no options. It’s a lot like Obama care and private health insurance. You used to be able to get good catastrophic coverage as a private individual for $500 a month for a family. Enter Obamacare, it’s now around $2000. But if you sign up on the government plan, you might only pay $300. At some point, you lose the ability to go it alone and that’s by design.

Wendy Hart



Homeschoolers face the same dangers as private schools. Once people see that homeschoolers are receiving thousands of dollars of public money, they will start demanding accountability for that money. I’ve seen them do it already.

Rhonda Hair

The Carson Smith Scholarship is a perfect example of how no “favors” from government go without punishment. I saw this first-hand when I worked for a private school in which administrators decided to accept students on the Carson Smith program. The deal was that any student with an IEP from the government system was eligible for a percentage of tuition at a private school. This meant that a student who had challenges (usually caused by faulty instruction at the government school) came to take a disproportionate amount of the teachers’ efforts while providing a fraction of the payment that the parents of other students made. I was glad to be able to help the child, but some Carson Smith-endowed parents (who were not paying anything personally) came with a rather entitled attitude.

The next blow was that the student would be tested every two years, and if the problems had been solved, the child and the school would lose the scholarship.

The final insult was that in order to have any Carson Smith students, our school was required to send a staff member, at their own expense or unpaid, to attend meetings with and to be counseled by government school officials, whose attitudes and ineptitudes I found, quite frankly, to be atrocious. Perhaps some parents should hear what jokes were had at their expense over their desire to have their children attend the schools they wanted. (I was the one to whom the duty was assigned.)

Marjohna Kathryn Madsen

Tooele School District has just dropped MyTechHigh (the homeschool funding option) & guess what it came down to? The test. Too many opt outs of those who utilize MyTechHigh through Tooele district & not enough “accountability,” so they can’t guarantee every student hits the goals made by the district. The district says it’s a flawed program to just give parents the freedom to choose how they spend those funds.

One thing I’ve heard proponents of the Hope Scholarship say when concerns about the testing requirement comes up, is it’s okay because parents can just opt out. Well, here we have Exhibit A as to why that argument will backfire if too many actually choose that “freedom of choice” option.

All I ask is that people spend some time listening to legislative discussions around education. The discussion is NEVER about tax money being “your money” that you should be free to do with as you please, no strings attached. It is ALWAYS about accountability. It is ALWAYS about data so they can make “data driven decisions.” This money will not be free from accountability measures. It will remove the choice we have now.

If you want freedom, use your own money (the money you have in your pocket, not the money people are mistakenly calling your money after it’s already been given to the government, otherwise known to policy makers as “public money”). If you want other people to have opportunities, donate directly to a private school so they can provide their own scholarships without getting the government involved.

Pamela Budge

Learn How School Choice Fails Families

More Thoughts on why School Choice is Not the Answer

What's Wrong with School Choice?
School Choice sounds good on the surface...but if you look deeper, it means

TRUSTING GOVERNMENT with MORE CONTROL over expanding the very education system


What Else is Wrong with School Choice?
First the government uses carrots, then it uses sticks.

School Choice programs, or vouchers, siphon homeschoolers
and private school students back into government funded systems.

Your children are worth infinitely more than the price
the government is willing to pay you to have access to them.

Government's Bad Track Record
If the state can't fix the Charters, why would we even imagine it can improve upon private and home schools? Government interference in private sectors kills innovation, independence, and opportunity. Government overreach is the kiss of death. The state needs to chill. The state is not our savior, and has no business pretending it can resurrect education from the grave it's put it in, especially when it just keeps digging.
School Choice is Not Grassroots
Government institutions are NOT going to pay you to escape the indoctrination they've worked so hard to create in our schools. They're just going to find a way to make us parents complicit in its continuation so that they can tell us that this is what we wanted, this is the "will" of the people, and thus evade responsibility for the dumpster fire they've lit.
The System Won't Help You Escape It
More and more parents are sensing something is rotten in the state of Public Ed. They know this in their guts, and are unable to ignore the evidence of their eyes and ears, hence the desire for solutions outside the system.

But if those same parents think they can escape the old publicly-funded system by turning to a new publicly-funded system being pushed by the same people who ruined the old publicly-funded system, they're in for a rude awakening.
Who Gets to Ultimately Choose?
Even in a supposed “School Choice” model, all the real choices will have already been made by unelected functionaries, by entrenched advocacy groups, by globalist policy think-tanks, by social engineers, and by elite corporatists—all the same stakeholders that currently control education, but who can’t risk having commoditized children slipping through their fingers into the only realms truly free from government overreach—private and home schools.
Not Conservative, Not Christian, Not Cool
Using other people’s money for personal ends is not conservative. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not Christian. And claiming that parents will be empowered when they’re really just being infantilized, being told that they can’t possibly educate their own children without dependency-creating handouts, is not cool.
What Makes This Time Any Different?
It takes a special kind of hubris for legislators to think that the tiger they couldn’t tame in its cage will somehow be more easily controlled outside it. Publicly-funded education is that tiger.

School Choice is publicly-funded education.
The School Choice Experiment Will Backfire on Families
If there’s any disruption taking place with School Choice, it’s to families who have sacrificed financially and personally to educate their children and who are now being lured into buying the lie that state money, and all the chains attached to it, will somehow “enfranchise” and “empower” them more than trusting in their own God-given inspiration as parents to educate free of micromanaging middlemen.
True Education Isn't the State's Gift to Give
To say that parents cannot provide their children a truly personalized education without “Big Brother’s” help is to deny the divinity of the unconventional educations of Abraham Lincoln, John Paul Jones, Maya Angelou, Irving Berlin, and countless others whose light was not coldly reflected from a state-purchased LED screen streaming soulless, mass-produced content, but had originated—deeply and uniquely—from within.
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