Jeb Bush hasn’t made much headway in the polls but he is hanging in there, the favorite of the GOP establishment and the best-funded.

 

He recently announced his plan for reforming American education, and it is a paean to school choice. He just doesn’t like public education, period.

 

Peter Greene has performed a public service for us by reviewing Jeb’s proposals. He does so in part 1 and part 2.

 

i will give you some pithy excerpts and encourage you to read the whole thing by yourself.

 

This is from part 1:

 

“For all the conservative love for choice and freedom, it never seems to include the choice and freedom to do things that conservatives believe are Very Wrong, or to say, “We will pick our own choices to choose from, thanks.” That’s in part because the very idea of school choice is fundamentally flawed.

 

“First, nobody wants choice. Rich kids don’t have an advantage because they have choice– they have an advantage because they have access to an excellent education. People want a good school. That’s it. If someone gets a restaurant meal that is undercooked and cold, they don’t say, “Bring me a dozen mediocre meals to chose from.” They want what they want, done right.

 

“Second, choice is not “budget neutral.” When facing a tight budget, no school district says, “No need to shut down any buildings. It wouldn’t save us any money.” You can’t operate several sets of schools (with several sets of administrators) for the cost of one. Anybody who tries to set up a choice system without a plan to fully fund it is smoking something.

 

“Third, choice as currently conceived, disenfranchises a huge part of the electorate and cuts social responsibility out of the picture. If you don’t have a child, you don’t have a say in how tax dollars are spent. Choicer “it’s the family’s choice” rhetoric only goes so far– nobody is seriously suggesting that vouchers be literal vouchers that students can use to go to school, buy a car, or take a vacation in Europe. Choice never seems to include “I choose no school at all.” Choicers haven’t suggested doing away with compulsory education, but they can’t admit that it’s because the students have a level of responsibility to the country that’s paying for their education, because that would mean admitting that families are not the only stakeholders in education, which would conflict with the “the money belongs to the family” theory.

 

“But even if we get past those, we arrive again at the conservative conundrum– if you allow freedom and choice, you have to accept that people may choose things you don’t like, including NOT having a bunch of choices. Conservatives– and Bush is no exception here– keep calling for a system of imposed choice, which is a big screaming oxymoron.”

 

This is from part 2:

 

Bush wants more money for more charter schools, although he reminds us that money is not the answer.

 

Greene goes through the various proposals and here is the bottom line:

 

“Bush is being direct and clear– he would like to get rid of traditional public education. He thinks schools still work like they did two generations ago (there is no excuse for this belief). And he likes blended learning and competency based education, which means he is destined to meet the same people who hammered him over Common Core, only they’ll be carrying different signs.

 

“Also, remember– it’s important to give parents and students a choice, as long as they choose the choices that Bush chooses for them. Under Bush, you can have lots of choices– except for a traditional public school.”