By Bill Mefford
I just read a tweet from a Republican member of Congress who who will remain nameless (Steve Scalise) and who said they support school choice because a zip code should not determine their future, or something along those lines.
Begin the long eye roll now.
If you don't want a zip code to determine someone's future then invest in the resources of that community! Look at under-resourced communities and those are the ones likely filled with people impacted by racist and unjust criminal justice policies, where there is little economic redistribution happening and the businesses that are there are focused on destroying community (things like pawn shops, credit stores, and liquor stores) rather than on building community (locally-owned grocery stores, restaurants, or craft-building stores that feature local passions). Invest in leadership development and enhance reintegration policies for those returning to these communities from prison (like offering treatment for substance abuse and not prison!) and stop the ill-informed "tough-on-crime" rhetoric that comes of the same mouths of politicians as the calls for "school choice."
It's so blatantly hypocritical to call for a few kids to benefit from quality education (which is all that school choice really offers), while calling for extraordinarily long sentences for low-level crimes involving drugs, while also eliminating the opportunity for folks leaving prison with low-level drug crimes to be able to apply for college loans (which they cannot currently do).
I wish this member of Congress would stop with deconstructing under-resourced communities and start INVESTING!
Above all, invest in every level of public education! Home schools, private religious schools, and investing in schools through vouchers (which is all "school choice" is really pushing) will NEVER adequately provide the education children and adults in communities need! INVEST IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - increase teacher pay, fund the arts, get rid of the damn tests, and let schools educate! Schools can be the place that spark the dreams in our kids that will set their worlds on fire, which can lead to remarkable scientific discoveries, new advancements in technology, and deeper empathy for those lead in social services.
Tweeting support for "school choice" while denouncing under-resourced communities will only continue to build the chasm that exists between those with access to wealth and power and those who do not have access. Come to think of it Steve Scalise, maybe that is why you support "school choice" in the first place.