Everyone pays, everyone is eligible: Why universal school choice makes sense


Brandon Dutcher | April 13, 2023

Everyone pays, everyone is eligible: Why universal school choice makes sense

Brandon Dutcher

It’s worth remembering that Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program, widely celebrated by Oklahoma political leaders, is universal. Likewise for grades K-12. “We have universal access to district schools, charter schools, and digital education programs,” education scholar Matt Ladner reminds us. “Everyone helps to pay for them, everyone deserves access. That’s a guiding principle. Everyone pays Social Security and Medicare taxes; everyone is eligible for the programs.”

Thus it stands to reason, he says: “Everyone pays for school choice programs, so on what basis would we deny them to anyone?”

Oklahoma’s total state and local tax collections last year were $21.1 billion—or $21,014 for a typical family of four. “Rather than continuing to penalize parents financially for raising their children in accordance with their consciences,” I have said for years, “it’s time for Oklahoma policymakers to enact and expand policies—vouchers, tax credits, ESAs, and more—which secure parental rights.”

Universal school choice is the principled—and pragmatic—education policy.

Brandon Dutcher Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher

Senior Vice President

Brandon Dutcher is OCPA’s senior vice president. Originally an OCPA board member, he joined the staff in 1995. Dutcher received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. He received a master’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public policy from Regent University. Dutcher is listed in the Heritage Foundation Guide to Public Policy Experts, and is editor of the book Oklahoma Policy Blueprint, which was praised by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman as “thorough, well-informed, and highly sophisticated.” His award-winning articles have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, WORLD magazine,,, The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, and 200 newspapers throughout Oklahoma and the U.S. He and his wife, Susie, have six children and live in Edmond.

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