The battle for educational freedom is ongoing. One of the drivers on the pro-freedom side is the desire to keep kids away from all the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” poison that’s infused “public” education. (Another is a desire to keep kids away from this sort of thing, which threatens to become widespread.) And in a few places, the educrats have been forced to retreat, whether by permitting vouchers, charter schools, or parental involvement in curriculum decisions. Overall, the struggle over the control of juvenile education remains intense.
One side is considerably sneakier than the other:
Florida lawmakers are considering a major bill that would offer government funding to homeschoolers and families with children in private school, but with a major catch that has critics alarmed. The controversy: Once parents accept the public money, they will give up much of their educational freedom and independence. There is a battle raging already.
The legislation, known as House Bill 1, requires that parents receiving public funding take government-approved tests every year. Because testing drives curriculum, and many (if not all) of the tests are aligned with the politically toxic Common Core, critics are warning that the bill would force many homeschoolers and private-school students back into the government system they fled.
Another major concern with the bill among advocates of educational liberty is a mandate requiring families receiving the funding to meet annually with a so-called “Choice Navigator.” While the precise nature of the job remains unclear, the “navigators” would determine the supposed “educational needs” of each child, then work with parents to ensure those “needs” are met.
The bill does not state explicitly who would get the last word about curriculum decisions, or whether Junior’s “educational needs” are being met. However, the state would retain control over the money. Thus, should the “navigator” submit an unfavorable assessment of Junior’s curriculum or test scores, we could expect the funding to be withdrawn.
There is nothing as addictive as “free” money. Politicians know this, and have applied it in every possible context. It’s been their major lever in destroying local control over schooling. In this context, it would pervert any alternative educational mechanism it could seduce.
While this bill might be attractive to financially strapped families that are still trying to free their kids from the educrats’ tentacles, the trap it sets possesses powerful jaws. Floridians genuinely dedicated to protecting the minds of the young should work to defeat it.