Budget & Tax , Education
Brandon Dutcher | April 17, 2023
Parental rights include ‘the right to genuine school choice’
“Parents have a fundamental right,” Boston University education professor Charles L. Glenn once wrote, “to choose the schooling that will shape their children’s understanding of the world. But a right isn’t really a right if it can’t be exercised.”
Unfortunately, it can’t be exercised (as we’re reminded all too well during tax season) by many Oklahoma families who are forced to give a large share of their annual income to the federal, state, and local tax collectors in order to fund schools these families don't choose.
That’s why policymakers have a duty to respect “the fundamental right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, grounded on parents’ pre-political childrearing authority,” as philosophy professor Melissa Moschella wrote in a Heritage Foundation report. “Public schools’ monopoly on public educational funding violates parental rights.” Parental rights include “the right to genuine school choice.”
To her great credit, state Rep. Rhonda Baker recently pointed out that “there are a lot of parents that have reached out to individuals within our caucus that do have concerns about what’s taking place in some of the schools and they want a different choice.”
We respect that parent and their right to choose. … COVID opened their eyes to a lot of things that were taking place within the classroom that parents may not have agreed with. And those parents are the ones that have begged us, ‘Offer us a choice. Give us a chance. Some of the things that we are seeing are not consistent with the values within our home.’
So “rather than continuing to penalize parents financially for raising their children in accordance with their consciences,” as I said in 2017, “it’s time for Oklahoma policymakers to enact and expand policies—vouchers, tax credits, ESAs, and more—which secure parental rights.” For everyone.
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, Forbes.com, Mises.org, 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.