Biden replaces free college with Pell Grants
In the recent CNN so-called town hall meeting, President Biden said that his free two years of community college proposal is no longer in the shrinking reconciliation bill. As an alternative, he is suggesting that it may be possible to expand the federal Pell Grant program that provides money to students to attend college.
Biden’s reference to Pell Grants brought me back to my long effort to introduce universal school choice for elementary and high school students. The concept is very simple. Instead of paying the school system for each student, you allow the student to direct the money to the school of their choice. That could be the public school, a private school or even a parochial school.
The idea of allowing parents and students to determine which school best serves their interests is vehemently opposed by the school unions , the public-school boards, the political machines that run the urban schools and the progressive left. That is because their power and profit come from keeping as many kids in their public schools as possible – regardless of the quality of the education. In the education consulting business, we refer to it as “warehousing kids.”
The human tragedy of their opposition to school choice is most clearly seen in the minority schools that served the segregated communities in America’s major cities. In those communities, black and Hispanic kids are trapped in crumbling crime-ridden buildings – where they receive poor quality education and the dropout rate is as high as 70 percent. On-campus violence is common. These kids have little chance at moving on to college and pursuing career level jobs in the future.
I have always considered the crushing of positive and productive futures for millions of black and Hispanic children is one of the greatest civil rights immoralities of our times. It is the sinful residual of slavery, 100 years of southern segregation, and urban de facto racism.
These children have been trapped in these failed institutions for generations solely for the political and economic benefit of machine politicians – black and white – the school unions, and a parasitical industry of education contractors and consultants.
Opponents of school choice argue that allowing the money to flow to other school systems would undermine the public schools by drawing money away. That is true, but it is largely offset by removing the student who is a major part of the cost. In fact, most school choice proposals only require a PORTION of the state financial allotment to be transferred. That means the public schools would have more money per pupil – an economic gain.
Opponents claim that other schools may not teach according to the public school’s curriculum. That is also true. And in view of all the controversy with what the public schools ARE teaching, that would be a very good thing. It would put the parents back in control of what their children are being taught. It would break what is evolving into a state-run indoctrination system in which the government determines what a child is to know and believe.
They also argue that it would violate the Constitution to have taxpayer money flowing to parochial schools. If that were the case – an this is my point – the Pell Grants would not be possible. That taxpayer money often goes to such parochial schools as Notre Dame.
The Pell Grant program is a favorite of the education/industrial complex – of the left-leaning intelligentsia. They do not recognize their own hypocrisy. And obviously, Biden loves the idea so much that he wants to expand it.
Of course, the Pell Grant program blows away every objection to school choice because it does EXACTLY what the Pell Grant program does. It takes federal taxpayer dollars and allows the parents and the students to take that money wherever they wish to attend college. They can go to a state school … a private school … and even a parochial school.
If Biden wants to expand the Pell Grant programs, he should expand it to all those elementary and high school students who are now being warehoused in substandard schools in our segregated cities – or at least encourage the states to use school choice as their funding mechanism.
The essential difference between the current system and school choice is that the current taxpayer money is for the benefit of buildings and unionized government workers – and the political leaders who benefit from the millions of dollars that flow from the school unions to the Democrat city politicians who maintain the system. Yes … almost all the education union money goes to Democrats because they are in control of the cities and can keep school choice from disrupting their corrupt and immoral racist policies.
What is wrong with something like Pell Grants for K/12 students … something like school choice.
So, there ‘tis.