Beats the hell out of the usual tack of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Conservatives are missing a vital opportunity to remake American education. For the first time in our history, millions of schoolchildren will not have a public school to attend in the fall. Warranted or not, coronavirus fears present conservatives with an opportunity to offer an alternative to traditional public-school education, but they have yet to propose one.
Conservatives have spent decades trying to support alternatives to public school with some success. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, the number of children enrolled in either private schools, charter schools or home-schooling increased to 10.5 million in 2016, up from 7.7 million in 1999. The number, while increasing substantially, still pales in comparison to the 47.3 million children who attend public schools.
As devastating as the coronavirus has been to the wealth and wellbeing of Americans, it has offered a valuable opportunity for conservatives to move a number of children out of the public school system permanently.
Republican governors and mayors could have enacted substantial reforms by offering financial incentives to parents to home-school their children during the pandemic. Taking funds from states’ or cities’ education budgets, and redirecting them to parents, could have been a positive change that voters might accept, especially given that most want schools to remain closed, according to a poll by the Washington Post. Sending direct funds to families also would help alleviate some of their financial pressures, especially when many must choose between going to work and sending their children to school.
The coronavirus pandemic may have destroyed many things, but the opportunity to rebuild and create a more conservative future is out there. Simply reopening the public schools isn’t the answer.
The accompanying opportunity to discredit, dismantle, and destroy the teachers unions, which are nothing more than an auxiliary fund-raising arm of the DNC by now, shouldn’t be ignored either.