Most people who support school choice do so because it gives parents a new freedom and flexibility while giving children the chance for an education that works for them. These are the correct and obvious question and the educational choice advocates are lucky that the scientific evidence is solid and moral case is clear as a bell.
But the School Monopolists have an extra card up their sleeve. “Sure,” they concede, “school choice would be great. You know what else? My daughter wants a pony and my husband wants a yacht. Just like school choice, it would be great if they could have their pony and yacht and I could have my mansion. But in the real world, these things are too expensive. School choice is too expensive.”
It would be a devastating argument—if it were true. Fortunately, it’s not true. In fact, the precise opposite is true: School choice saves money for taxpayers, parents, and even public schools.
This story from today’s New Hampshire Union Leader shows why. According to the story, the Granite State spends $6,300 in state aid per student on public schools but only $3,598 per student in public charter schools.
That means that every time a student’s parent chooses a charter school instead of a regular government school, the taxpayers of New Hampshire save at least $2,700. (This does not include significant local savings on property taxes which account for a third to a half of school funds.) This is a savings of over 40% of total state aid per student. Any savings to the taxpayer can be returned in the form of tax cuts or added to the state budget or even reinvested in public education—or any combination thereof.
Charter schools aren’t the same as vouchers or tax credits. But the principle behind “the school choice dividend” is the same. By cutting out the government bureaucracy parents and taxpayers save money.
We already know that school choice saves children. Now we know it also saves money.