School Choice Movement- What Is It And Should We Implement It: Parents, do you know what is happening in your state legislature? In today’s episode, we will be discussing The School Choice Movement. Tune in now to learn more!
Air Date:Â 11/18/2019
Guest: Bobbie Jager
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. In all of those areas, we look at them from a biblical historical and constitutional perspective.Â
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state legislator.
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Later in the program, we’re gonna have a guest with us talking about school choice and the importance of parents paying attention to what’s happening in their state legislature. That’s all across the country, not just our guest from Oregon who’ll be with us a little later.Â
Influencing State Legislature
Guys, let’s talk a little bit about the idea of influencing state legislature is going to do because a lot of people think maybe you know that’s another world I can’t possibly influence that.Â
Before we have our guest on, let’s kind of lay some groundwork here on what is school choice, and where is that movement across the country right now.
The Espinosa Case
Well, when you look at school choice and where the movement is it, could be radically different twelve months from now. That’s because there is a case that the U.S. Supreme Court right now, it’s come out of Montana. It’s called the Espinosa case.Â
It deals with school choice because, in Montana, the legislature there said we want education for all the kids in the state, except if you happen to be in certain schools, we’re not going to fund that kind of education. It happened to be private schools. Private schools teach the same algebra, the same science, the same math, the same everything, so from the state’s standpoint-Â
Because You Believe God Is Real, You Shouldn’t Get Funding
They might not teach the same because generally, statistically, kids in private schools perform at a higher rate than those in public schools. So, it seems like if you want to fund and reward some kind of education, why do we reward the ones who, statistically on the whole on the average, are doing a better job?Â
I mean, in theory, they should be teaching from the same algebra books. They should be teaching from the same English books or the second language you’re learning. Maybe it’s Spanish or Latin that you might be doing.Â
In theory, we’re all basing the same content, education, and what we do in our classrooms. Yet they said because you guys believe that God is real, and maybe even tell students that God is real, you shouldn’t get funding.
Yeah, I think you’re right. It is a different education system because, in those private schools, they don’t typically say two plus two equals whatever you want it to be equal to make you feel good.
Private Schools And Home-Schools Test 2 To 4 Grades Higher Than Public Schools
Yeah, it’s how the education system tends to work.Â
Statistically, the private schools and home schools, generally, on most test 2 to 4 four grade levels higher than public schools on the same testing. From the state’s standpoint, what the state is after is an educated student.Â
An educated student that will make a good citizen in this state. And so from that standpoint, that’s why you have state education, or that’s why the state funds education: to have intelligent smart prepared students.Â
The Blaine Amendment
They’re saying well if you happen to come out of one of these systems, you believe in God, and your scores are actually two to four grade levels higher, we won’t fund you.Â
A lot of that goes back to something that happened in 1874, 5, and 6.Â
At the end of the Reconstruction era, the speaker of the House, James G. Blaine, came up with this Amendment, where he said, you know we really don’t want to be funding the Catholic schools. That’s just one denomination of schools, and we’re not going to do that. So there was a fairly strong anti-Catholic movement at the time, and they called it the Blaine Amendment.Â
It was an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; it did not pass. But what happened was forty states picked it up. The Blaine Amendment was not designed at religious education; it was designed at what we would call sectarian education, which is we’re not going just to fund one denominational school. All schools are fine, not just one.
Forty States Have That Amendment In Place
Forty states now have an amendment in place that says, under our state Constitution, we can’t fund those schools that work like home schools, private schools, etc. Only ten states really have the provision to do that. So this case is at the U.S. Supreme Court this year. It looks at that Montana law, which actually requires hostility toward religious education. Now, the court has held for a number of years that we have to treat everything equally; we can’t require hostility toward religion or nonreligion, but the Blaine Amendment does that.Â Â
If the Blaine Amendment gets struck down this year, which we think, chances are really good that’ll happen. What it does is, it now has 40 states that can now go back to helping fund the kind of education that actually works rather than just requiring that you only fund secular education.Â
So, this could be a seismic land shift that happens in all the states, which then throws the battle back in the 40 states that really haven’t been able to contend on that basis before. It will be a whole new landscape.
Paying Attention At The State Level Is Going To Be Huge
Which is why paying attention at the state level is going to be huge.
Regardless of what happens, either way, you have that battle going on in the States. But if that case comes down, like you’re saying, David, it’s going to be even more important to pay attention at the state level. They’ll be wiping out those prohibitions against school choice, and saying hey guys find a way to make your programs work.
There Will Not Be A Constitutional Prohibition Against School Choice
Yeah, at least there will not be a constitutional prohibition against school choice in the sense of true competition.Â
Now, you’ll still have the philosophical side of it where the Democrats or Republicans tend to be fairly far apart on this. It is becoming more and more aggressively secular in the Democrat Party, as we’ve seen even in recent weeks from the National Committee.Â
They’re really pleased that their largest religious constituency is now the non-religious part of the party.Â
You see this kind of anti-God hostility growing more and more, but at least there will no longer be a state constitutional prohibition against allowing school choice with all schools at work – whether they be religious or homeschool or parochial or private school or secular or whatever it is; if you can get the job done and show the metrics, we want you to help educate the kids in the state.
Bobbie Jager After The Break
We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we got Bobbie Jager with us. She’s dealing with this at the state level in Oregon. This applies to people all across the country. Every state a little bit different in terms of where they are on this school choice issue, but today’s interview is gonna give us a great example of what’s happening on a local level, specifically in this case in Oregon.
Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Check it out at RickGreen.com today to find out the dates, get all the specifics, and get all of your questions answered. Check out RickGreen.com today to join us on this Front Sight trip for both your constitutional and handgun defense training.Â
National School Choice Week
Welcome back to the intersection of faith and the culture, WallBuilders Live. We appreciate you staying with us. Bobby Jager is with us from the great state of Oregon and the National School Choice Week.Â
All right. Thanks for coming on.Â
Wait a minute, National School Choice, you must be under the illusion that somehow economics works better when you have competition and individuals making choices. Instead of, as Ronald Reagan would have described them, intellectual elite in a far-distant capital making the decisions for us.Â
You actually want to empower parents? I mean, what’s going on in Oregon?
We want to empower parents. We are working so hard up here to make things fair and just for the kids so that every child gets the right fit and is able to get the education that fits them – not one size fits all.
Trying To Get More Choices For Parents
For any of our new listeners today that doesn’t recognize the sarcasm, of course, we here at WallBuilders believe in free enterprise and individual choices. We see it work every time it’s tried.
School choice has been a great success wherever we implement it. When we don’t have it, of course, a monopoly is going to produce a bad product.Â
So that’s what you’re fighting against there in Oregon. Trying to get more choices for parents, and apparently, the state has decided to spend a ton of money on a new Education Bill but leave the parents’ choice out of it.Â
Online Public Charter School Students Will Not Recieve Any Of That Funding
Kind of is. We, actually Rick, will have 13,500 children that will not have access to that student fund. I don’t know where that puts you, but we have a lot of parents who have made choices for their kids, and it feels like a punishment now. It is actually written in our Bill at this point that online students who are a charter school, public students will not receive any of that funding.
History Of Oregon’s School Choice Movement
Bobbie, if you don’t mind back up and catch us up for our listeners outside of Oregon. We haven’t done an update for a while on our program. We used to do a regular update on where school choice was in each of the states across the country.Â
Give us a little history of Oregon’s school choice movement and what has been accomplished, where it stands, why this particular Bill is so bad, and why it should have included those that are making different choices than just a local public school.
I’d love to. So, Oregon has moved along, and we knew years ago, they opened up to homeschoolers, and then they started the charter school movement, which for those of you who don’t know are bricks and mortar meaning; a building.Â
Then we have online schools. We also have private schools. We also have online charter, homeschool, private, and public schools, so there are some good choices.Â
The problem that we’re finding is we can’t reinvent the wheel.Â
Sometimes, we’ll have a school that’s doing really well that wants to be two or three, and that’s a challenge. Last year, they started students succeeded committee and went around to all the schools in the state; they did it online and everything. They did a great job.Â Â
The Online Schools Were Written Out
Not to put them down, but when the Bill was actually written, the online schools were written out. We’re trying our best right now.Â
We’re trying to get the parents to recognize the educated because you know as well as I do that moms and dads are busy. There’s a lot of things that they miss not purposely but just that things happen in their lives.Â
And all of a sudden they’re sending their child to what looks like or is an online public charter school, and all of a sudden, their kids aren’t going to get this funding.Â
I am not against schools getting funding at all. We have needed an increase.Â
My problem, Rick, is: we have a really really bad grade for how our education is coming out. So I kind of look at it like if my children were doing a bad job with their chores, would I pay them more?
That’s Where Our Taxes Need To Land
I have 13 children, and we want them to do a good job, and we want to incentivize them, but we want them to do what they should do for the price that we’re giving them. Now we’re going to increase which schools need the money, but I want it to be fair across the board.Â
I don’t think it should matter where your children go to school if you pay taxes in Oregon, and your children are educated in Oregon – that’s where it needs to land.
Withholding Funding Does Not Make Sense
If the goal is the child being educated, who cares what the name on the building is or which institute is doing it. It’s the end result of that child being educated.Â
What I don’t understand about this whole thing is: that these online schools have essentially been approved by the state. These are schools that we want kids to be able to go to, and we’ll support them. In this particular case, withholding funding from that option doesn’t make any sense.
If they had never allowed that option before, then you got an initial fight to it to win. But the legislators and the state and the education system in Oregon has said this is a good option but not this time.
It Puts Everybody At Each Other’s Throats, Why Would You Do That?
The thing is some of the legislators get it, and they’re on our team. Then there are others that think; they’re online. They don’t need as much money they can go to their districts and work with their districts.Â
But that puts a whole kettle of fish that we don’t want to deal with because then you’re at your district knocking on their door. Right now, the districts get up to 20 percent, just for letting you be the school in their area for a charter school or sometimes for the online schools. And so it puts everybody almost at each other’s throats. Why would you do that?Â
You’ve got kids that we’re trying to give success to, to get them out into the world, and now you’re saying well because you made this choice or your parents made this choice for lifestyle or whatever, we’re not going to give that part-funding if they can work it out with their school district, then good for them.Â
Parents Should Stand Up And Say Enough
Like I said, thirteen thousand five hundred kids in Oregon, whom all of their parents pay taxes and they must, are not going to be able to access that funding, which is an access and equity problem.Â
We’re already struggling so bad in Oregon to make the kids be able to achieve what they do. You know every school report we get back or that testing and stuff we’re not improving. We’re not doing the things we need to do.Â
My personal opinion is: parents should stand up and say enough.
Yeah. I totally agree. I think your analogy was right too.Â
We should think of it like that: whether it’s a business entity that you’ve patronized in the past and bought things from. They’re doing a lousy job, and yet they want to go up on the price.
Why would you do that? Yet in education, we do that.Â
Whether it’s secondary education, you pick it; the price goes up, but the quality continues to go down, and the results continue to go down. Competition is the only thing that turns that around.Â
Oregon Is Going Down The Right RoadÂ
I’m actually encouraged at least Oregon is going down the right road here. Oregon’s not a conservative state. So the fact that you’ve been able to accomplish what you have on the competition front is great. It tells you that there are people in Oregon that get these fundamental principles. Now you’ve got a legislative battle coming up because you guys have a fall legislative session, right?
Well, we don’t start until February. We do a long session and a short session.Â
So, this last year, 2019, we did a long session, which was like from January to June or July the end of June. That was a hard one. That was rough.Â
We had some hard battles. I don’t know if you watch, but our Republican senators walked out twice.Â
They saved our bacon because on top of everything else in Oregon that affects school is: we have a vaccine bill. California, Washington, New York, they’re doing these vaccine bills, and Rick, we have seen people come out of the woodwork.Â
We have had cultures that, because of religious preferences, have not ever been inside the Capitol. They have never voted, and these people came out in droves. They were mommies.
I’m A Voice For Choice For My Child
Here again, we have these confused misled folks that seem to think that they know better than that intellectual leader in a far distant capital. They are getting upset when the government wants to decide what their child is going to be injected with, and they actually want to have a say in that. I’m just amazedÂ
I know. The thing is everybody then says you’re anti-vaccine. Well, I’m not anti-vaccine. I have 13 kids. They are vaccinated. We did delay with some of them. We’ve had some children that were sick, you know, and insisted choice. Going back to the same word, right? I’m a voice for choice for my child.
There you go. For you to be able to actually do the study, have the conversation with the doctor – do all those things that a good parent would do. Then decide that, in this child’s case, this particular vaccine I don’t want to do yet or maybe never. Some of them maybe never. Out of all of them that are out there, you should be able to study that. Instead of just saying, here’s my child do whatever you want with them.Â
That’s absolutely crazy. That Bill did or didn’t pass this last session?
Our Senators Walked Out
It did not.Â
Our senators walked out, and we had a gun bill that was on the table. They walked out.Â
Good for them.
They were awesome. They did it twice. You know, and it took a lot.Â
I mean, they really stuck their necks out, and we’re going into another election. They depend on how people feel. I know there’s a lot of people that believe in vaccines, and as I said, I’m not anti-vaccine. I know it’s up to the parent.Â
It’s About The Power Of Choice
It’s about the power of choice.Â
You can’t tell a momma whose child isn’t walking or has some mental challenges that that shot didn’t do that when she believes it did. So, you’re fighting.Â
With that vaccine bill, we calculated it was about 56,000 kids that wouldn’t be in school. Now, the catch to this is: they were going to send them to online school -Â
And now they have withdrawn the funding from those online schools there. Not totally but they do not include themÂ
Because Of the Bill We Couldn’t Do that
I’m sure if the Bill comes back, we hope it will come back different. But you know it’s still funny because then you’ve got all these kids and we’re obligated, the online schools are, to the state to test face to face.Â
Well, according to the Bill they had, we couldn’t do that because if I was vaccinated and your child wasn’t, and I needed to give him the test, I couldn’t be in the same area as him.
So, let me ask you this you said at your session start in February. So listeners that are listening in Oregon, outside of Oregon that want to support somehow, how do they contact or follow these pieces of legislation and what you’re doing?
There are a couple of different ways, but just tell him to go to Oregonlegislature.gov. We’re only five weeks this year, so it is going to be just quick and mean and done. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s not, right?
Choice Is A Privilege
We need to get you back in March then to find out how it went.
That’d be great. We could do anything to educate parents, I know they’re busy, but they need to try to watch what’s happening in their state. They need to check at least what are the bills on education because you can actually type in education, and it’ll show you everything that’s up. They also need to be aware of any type of school choice, or any type of choice is a privilege, and it can leave as fast as it came.
Parents Should And Can Pay Attention To Have A Voice In That
Yeah. No doubt. Your call is exactly right to parents across the country.Â
Everything that you’re talking about that is happening in Oregon, is happening in other states; on the education issue, on choice, on funding, on medical choices for your children. It’s happening in every state, and every parent should and can pay attention and have a voice in that.
We appreciate what you’re doing there. Thanks for all you’ve done for the folks in Oregon, and for all of the rest of us outside Oregon as well.Â
I appreciate your coming on and look forward to getting a good report from you in March on the Oregon Legislative session next spring.Â
I hope we have one. Thanks for calling.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Â America’s Hidden History
Hi, this is David Barton.
And, this is Tim Barton, and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History.
And, this season is called “America’s Hidden Heroes.” The reason is, we highlight heroes from American history. For years we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history and heroes of the nation.
And now, we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.
These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location to the sites and show you where the events happened. It’s the stories of folks like Bronco Charlie, Stagecoach Mary, Jedediah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.
Now, this happens every Thursday night, and the time is gonna be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you in learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.
We All Need To Get Involved
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live.
Our guest today was from the state of Oregon dealing with school choice there. It certainly applies to all of us across the country.Â
We’re back with David and Tim. Every state has great folks like Bobbie that are paying attention to the legislature, and going there and testifying in committee.Â
Most states have a pretty good family policy, council type organizations. So you don’t have to go learn this on your own. You can plug into organizations and groups that are paying attention, but you do need to get involved. I mean, we’ve all have a duty to do that.
Yeah. We do need to get involved, and it does make a difference.Â
Why would you not want to promote what works best in performance or outcome where you can have kids actually at a higher academic level? Why would you want to punish them for that?
You’re Actually Discriminating Against Parents
By the way, you’re actually discriminating because you’re telling these parents we want you to give us your tax dollars so we can send kids to schools that have a lower academic performance. If your kids don’t want to go there, then you’re going to have to pay for a place where they can go and get higher academic performance.Â
Yet, we’re just talking about something that should be equal. It’s not like we’re talking about going to Harvard or Yale, where you have $100,00 per year kind of fees. We’re talking about just homeschool or Christian school. But you have to pay for a less successful system, and on top of that, go ahead and pay for your kids to have one that really works.
The Money Follows The Student
This is why some of the proposals that people often suggest that the voucher programs or things don’t make sense. Where the money follows the student: that makes a lot of sense.
You’re already paying the tax dollars. So the tax dollars should go to the place where your child is being educated, makes 100% sense to me.Â
But I’m not in government, and so there are probably many loopholes I don’t understand: about all the people who need to be paid, about all the processes that happen, and about the productivity that’s expected. Therefore, we need the government to help with these problems.
Competition Always Helps The Market Do Better
Your problem is you’re using common sense as a measure, and that’s where you lost it. You can’t do that in government.Â
This is where, I think, many parents feel the frustration, they feel the pressure. They want a different option, and they’re ready for a different option. So often you have the teachers unions in public schools saying no, we can’t afford competition because it’s going to be worse for the students.Â
Listen, competition is never made things worse. It always helps the market do better. It will do the same thing in education.Â
Without That You Bring Everyone Down To The Lowest Common Denominator
It’s such a fundamental concept too. I mean it’s such a pivotal part of freedom itself. If you don’t have competition, if you don’t have the ability to sharpen each other in the marketplace, make each other be better, provide better, produce all of those things. Without that, it just doesn’t work.
Â You bring everybody down to the lowest common denominator of misery. You make the products horrible.Â
Just look at any nation that has embraced socialism, communism. You see those terrible results. But here in America, we should not be embracing that kind of socialist policies, especially in something as important as education.Â
We Should Be Embracing Competition
We should be embracing competition. We should be embracing freedom. We should be giving a choice to parents.Â
Those things will make our education system second to none.Â
Right now, we’re getting dismal results because we are not implementing the principles of freedom in this very important area. That is up to us.Â
We, the people, especially parents out there but frankly all taxpayers; we should be demanding competition in every state across this great nation. And in every school district in each of those states.Â
I hope that you will take up that cause and help to improve the education of the next generation by demanding choice, demanding competition, demanding free enterprise in this very important area.Â
We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s program. Check out Wallbuilderslive.com today. Our website where you can get archives of the program, and you can make a contribution right there today.
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