I first began speaking out about school choice in my second year as a public school teacher. At first, it was just a few posts on social media, then a letter to the editor, then an op-ed. Somewhere along the way, I realized I could only do so much to support school choice in my capacity as a public school teacher, so I took a leap of faith and applied to several programs to study education reform. As I write this, I am about to begin my education policy PhD coursework in the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform.
If you’re a public school teacher and you support school choice, you’re not the only one! pic.twitter.com/HDztppvrJM
— Alison Heape (@AlisonHeape) July 17, 2021
In my first year of teaching, educators in my state held a protest, primarily for more funding for public education. I wanted to understand for myself how the funding mechanisms worked and how much money schools were receiving, so I started researching. Schools in South Carolina spend on average almost $15,000 per student per year, more than double the average private school tuition. I realized the public school system doesn’t have a funding problem–it has a spending problem that stems from a lack of incentive, because it has a monopoly on the education market.
“I realized the public school system doesn’t have a funding problem–it has a spending problem that stems from a lack of incentive, because it has a monopoly on the education market.”
Having been homeschooled for most of my K-12 years, I know that public schools aren’t the right fit for all children. Although I loved my job as a public school teacher, I was frustrated by teachers’ unions and public education advocacy groups blocking efforts to give families more educational options. This is why I started to speak out–to let the world know that those organizations do not represent all public school teachers’ opinions!
“This is why I started to speak out–to let the world know that those organizations do not represent all public school teachers’ opinions!”
In education as in anything else, must aim for progress over perfection; there is no perfect educational system. We cannot realistically give every student a scholarship to their dream school tomorrow. However, every step toward giving students in low income families the same opportunities that students in high income families already have is a step in the right direction.