Opinion: Daily Journal

Media could learn a lesson on school choice in Wegmans mania

It’s hard to imagine, but did you know regular people can get as excited about new choices as Raleigh media get about new grocery store options? It’s true.

I know, I know, that’s saying a lot, when you consider how excited Raleigh media have been to have new grocery options. Daily stories, inside looks, interviews with enthusiastic soon-to-be patrons, progress updates, you name it:

Do you know what hardly registered? How much unfair hardship this new competition could place on the existing options. That thought never even occurred to reporters or editors. So, we didn’t receive a flood of stories about how upstart new competition threatened to take customers and siphon money away from established stores that have been serving us so well.

If you drain money away from our stores, they will lose the ability to serve their remaining customers as well. This is bad, and we shouldn’t allow it! That’s something else readers weren’t getting from these reports, for obvious reasons.

We also weren’t given fatuous fantasies about inferred racism or white flight to the new options, either. No, the media are foursquare in agreement with consumers that more choice is a good thing. In grocery stores.

You’d think they could apply that simple insight into other things, such as schools.

Instead, we get editorials about how “School choice is not the answer” (as if there is only one answer suitable for every family), how “we don’t need any more” choice, how your family having choice has a “negative impact” on others, how charter schools and Opportunity Scholarships “siphon money away” from public schools, arguments from the presumption that the schools are the top priority, not the students, and worse, arguments impugning in grossest terms the motives of families and legislators serving students’ interests more fully.

There’s no “Residents excited,” no “SNEAK PEEK,” no “The wait is almost over,” and certainly no “magical, mystical,” or “It’s about to get real” breathlessness. Media’s focus is strangely elsewhere.

For genuine excitement and happiness over discovering more options than the single thou-shalt-attend public school dictated to parents, you’d have to ask the parents. Watch parent’s stories about Opportunity Scholarships. Read what it’s like to wait and hope your children win the entrance lottery for entry into one of the limited charter-school options.

Let the realization dawn that a lottery is necessary because there are more families wanting to enroll in these new choices than there are spots available. (How’s that for “bigger than Black Friday!”) For them, even more options would be welcome.

Yes, some families in North Carolina can get about as excited for a new choice in school as Raleigh media are about Wegmans. Believe it or not.

Jon Sanders is director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation.



  • C Lew

    Brilliant!!!

  • ren_man

    wow! talk about comparing cumqwats to corn.
    totally FALSE comparison.

    schools are NOT commercial enterprises.
    public schools can not “charge” for their services.

    this is just another blow smoke up you know where piece advocating for the total destruction of public education!

    • John Moes

      No, the schools don’t charge for their services, but the teachers’ union does and they want a dictator to create a monopoly. If “the People,” and not the tyrannical state, are the shoppers, there should be a level playing field. Freedom of assembly is one of the four freedoms. The state may not take that away from individuals by taxing everyone but providing services only to those who do the dictator’s will.

      • ren_man

        freedom of assembly–that applies to forming a union.

        by LAW, no teachers or any state employee UNIONS in NC. Know before you speak so you don’t look the fool.

        Dues paid to union are like dues paid to anything be it an association, a sports league, a self-funded community group.

        Dictator creating a monopoly – you mean like Superintendent Johnson and his attempts to force companies and service provider on districts and set him sell as the sole arbiter of everything dealing with schools?

        Public schools are open to ALL and provide services to ALL, unlike CHARTER schools, parochial schools, or for-profit entities that get your TAX DOLLARS vis VOUCHERS.

        • John Moes

          You write: “freedom of assembly–that applies to forming a union.
          by LAW, no teachers or any state employee UNIONS in NC”

          Does that mean that teachers as employees of the state don’t have freedom of assembly in NC?
          Make them employees of PARENT unions and there could be true freedom of speech, press, assembly and religion in schools.

          In state dictated schools, freedom of speech is restricted, “employees” are not allowed to teach what some parents want taught: freedom of press is restricted, some products of the press are forbidden; freedom of religion is dictated – teachers may teach only the religion of secularism. Therefore, schools should be governed by the people, not the state

          If a person is forced to pay taxes to educate his children, and a teacher is teaching his children what He wants taught, why should not that teacher get paid from the taxes he paid? Why should he have to pay extra because the teacher is in a parent governed school, or pay extra for a different place of assembly

          • ren_man

            you really need to read and fully comprehend the First Amendment.

            you want religious instruction for your child? send them to a parochial school on your own dime, not all other taxpayers.

            Parent union? no, that would lead to even more restrictions.

            Your’s are the rantings for the far-right wing that would pervert “public” education – which means education that is for all and represents ALL and not just one narrow right-wing christian taliban view.

          • John Moes

            You write: “public” education – which means education that is for all and represents ALL . . .” You admit it is NOT for ALL because it is not for those with right-wing views. Why should my taxes pay only for your left-wing views.

            If you want your child to be taught the religion of secularism, send your child to a school that teaches that religion, but do it on your own dime. But don’t ask me to pay taxes for that school.

            But here is a better idea: We will both send our children to school and the state will not ask what religion, or whether a left or right wing view, is being taught there. If the child is getting an education (which many in “public” schools are not) – if they are being prepared to be valuable citizens, taxes for education should pay for EVERY child’s education, regardless of on which wing they fly or whether secular religion or any other is taught there. No child should be penalized because one view or another is being taught in his school.

          • ren_man

            there is no religion called “secularism”.
            no I did not admit it was not for right wing.
            it is. they, as do you, refuse to support any education that doesn’t brainwash students into just an ultra right-wing, even white supremacist, racist “religion”.