Republicans Are Opposing School Choice - They Should Be Held Accountable

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t only left-wing authoritarians who oppose parents’ right to decide how to educate their children. In far too many cases, politicians who proclaim the virtues of school choice when there is a camera in their faces suddenly lose their fervor when it comes time to put their words to action.


Unfortunately, these squishy Republican types tend to fly under the radar as conservatives lock horns with progressives who believe children belong to the state and not to their parents. These battles distract from the fact that many opponents of school choice govern in the same states as rank-and-file Americans who believe parents should be able to make decisions regarding their children’s education.

Last week, Georgia’s state House killed a bill that would have significantly expanded school choice because of actions taken by an organization that advocates for school choice. But the reason they were willing to deny more parents the right to choose how their children are educated demonstrates how serious they were about the issue in the first place.

The Washington Examiner reported:

House Speaker David Ralston said a bill that would have established a $6,000-per-student voucher program was no longer under consideration for the current legislative session because Republican lawmakers in the state were angered by a mail flyer pressure campaign mounted by the American Federation for Children, a pro-school choice organization.

During an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ralston explained that he was “livid” about the campaign, which he called “the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my career and one of the most deceitful.”


He added: “These are people we have tried to help over the years, and they turned to attack us very viciously.”

The House Speaker and some of his colleagues became upset after the American Federation for Children mailed a series of flyers to potential voters urging them to contact their representatives and push them to “stand up” to “the radical left” by voting for the measure. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:

Each mailer featured images of Abrams, President Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris above a picture of the state lawmaker.

“The radical left want to cancel your right to choose your child’s school,” it read, asking recipients to tell their representative to “stand up to them.”

The other side of the flier featured the phone number of the Republican legislator, along with a plea not to let them “give in to the radical left.”

The group also held a rally in front of the state Capitol building to drum up support for the proposed legislation.

Kaleb McMichen, a spokesman for Ralston, told The Examiner that Republicans chose to pull the bill “after the American Federation for Children sent mailers attacking more than a dozen members of the Majority Caucus — including members of leadership” and said it would quadruple their campaign budget if the measure passed. The spokesman claimed this constituted a “quid pro quo” scenario.


McMichen said it was “unfortunate that AFC’s reckless behavior ended consideration of this measure and turned members who were supporting or might have supported the bill against the measure.”

Corey DeAngelis, director of research for the American Federation for Children, castigated Ralston for withdrawing the bill, calling it “a weak excuse to side with the [education] monopoly.”

During a conversation with The Examiner, DeAngelis suggested that Ralston should put the measure up for a vote “so parents can know where their representatives stand” and that by removing the bill, Ralston was “protecting fake Republicans.”

DeAngelis then touched on what is likely the real issue in this story. “If you are really for school choice, you are not going to kill a bill over a bunch of mailers,” he said.

Therein lies the problem.

It is clear that the issue isn’t AFC sending out a bunch of mailers. The issue is that these GOP officials aren’t as keen on school choice as they would have us believe. Indeed, Ralston seems to have been looking for the perfect excuse to scuttle an effort to fund students instead of systems and he honed in on the mailers to justify his actions. To put it simply, these people don’t want parents deciding where they send their kids to school.

The notion that Republican lawmakers would prevent parents from deciding where and how their children are educated because of some silly mailers demonstrates that these people were never serious about the issue in the first place. There is absolutely no reason why the government should be empowered to dictate how parents educate their children.


I would suggest that these squishy Republican types are even more abhorrent than Democrats opposing school choice. Leftists are upfront about the fact that they believe your children belong to the state, not to their parents. GOP lawmakers like to give the appearance that they support school choice so that we will keep them in office. But given the opportunity, they will make any excuse possible to ensure that parents are not in charge of their children’s education. These are the types that voters should beware of. In essence, they are no better than the Democrats they claim to oppose.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos