A reader who identifies as “Retired Teacher” sees the school choice juggernaut as a deliberate plan to destroy our common good: public schools. Thomas Jefferson proposed the first public schools. The Northwest Ordinances, written by the founding fathers, set aside a plot of land in every town for a public school.

The origin of the school choice movement was the backlash to the Brown Decision of 1954. Segregationists created publicly-funded academies (charters) for white flight and publicly-funded vouchers to escape desegregation.

What replaces public schools will not be better for students, and it will be far worse for our society.

So much reckless “choice” will make the public schools the schools of last resort for those that have nowhere else to go. Choice is a means to defund what should be our common good. How are the schools supposed to fund the neediest, most vulnerable and most expensive students when so much funding is transferred to private interests? How will public schools be able to pay to maintain the buildings, hire qualified teachers and pay for all the fixed costs like insurance, transportation and utilities?

The billionaires and religious groups behind so-called choice would like to see public schools collapse. Choice benefits the ultra-wealthy and segregationists. Choice empowers the schools that do the choosing, not the families trying to find a school for their child. If public schools become the bottom tier of choice, they will become like the insane asylums of the 19th century where the unfortunate were warehoused, ignored and abused. This dystopian outcome would be the opposite of what the founding fathers envisioned. Their vision was one of inclusion where all are welcome, a place serves the interests of the nation, communities and individuals with civil, social and individual benefits. A tiered system of schools is neither ‘thorough or efficient.’ It is a nightmare, and nothing any proponents of democracy should be supporting.