Private child care centers can be life-savers for working parents or, depending on how they are run, nightmares for children and parents alike.
Regardless, child care facilities at both extremes – plus thousands in the middle – have joined the ever-growing parade of private and religious schools, home-schoolers and who knows who else converging on the state Capitol with their hands held out for a share of everyone’s taxes.
I am talking, of course, about vouchers or what Gov. Abbott and other proponents of this scheme to undermine and eventually destroy public education misleadingly call “school choice,” as in “give parents the choice to send their children to a private school.”
Parents and their children already have the choice to apply to as many private schools as they want. But the admissions choice belongs to the school, and vouchers won’t change that.
All vouchers will do is require every Texas taxpayer to help voucher parents pay for private school tuition, even parents who already can afford it, while taking resources from the neighborhood public schools where the vast majority of Texas students will continue to be educated.
Private child care centers view vouchers as a way to improve their bottom line and, for some, as a way to stay in business. Their official reason is to make more young children ready for the public education system.
The best way to do that though is not by taking millions of tax dollars from already under-funded public schools. The best way to give every preschooler a better chance of success in school is to provide more funding for public pre-K and kindergarten, as well as boosting resources for later grades.
Taxpayer-paid vouchers for private day care? Who’s next?