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The Morning Briefing: COVID Gives GOP a Chance to Get Serious About School Choice

AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Friday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Never trust people who don’t eat their pickles.

I’ve been playing the conservative Republican activist game for a very long time and, quite honestly, I am often perplexed by the battles the party chooses to wage. Or, almost as frequently, the ones it doesn’t fight.

The school choice fight is one I revisit more and more right now because I think that there is a golden opportunity being provided by the pandemic to pick up some votes. We don’t have to be the “never let a crisis go to waste” ghouls like the Democrats, but there’s no reason to ignore a strategic play that’s been practically gift-wrapped.

Back at the beginning of the year, I wrote about the way COVID has exposed the thoroughly evil teachers’ unions for the shakedown artists they are. They couldn’t help themselves. Rot like that isn’t easy to cover up.

That rot and greed have been forcing migration in school enrollment away from public schools to private and charter options.

Stacey wrote an excellent column about it yesterday:

new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools shows what a great advertisement American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten and her more radical members provided for school choice. After more than a year of school closures, Zoom classes, and battles over critical race theory, parents are increasingly taking their children out of public schools. The study looked at enrollment shifts between the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years.

Their analysis shows that 1.45 million children left traditional public schools. Charter schools gained 237,000 students in the same period. The difference is made up by families choosing private schools or homeschooling. The researchers noted that public school enrollment declines began years ago in many cities and states. Some of the loss was due to demographic changes and population decline. However, the pandemic appears to have accelerated the switch to public school alternatives.

Charter school enrollment increased in all but three of the 39 states that allow them and provided data.

When you combine the numbers in Stacey’s column with the increased involvement of parents everywhere at school board meetings as they battle insane leftist curricula, the right kind of messaging from the Republican Party could change some hearts and minds.

Of course, the GOP isn’t always gifted in the messaging department. In fact, there have been times in recent years when it seemed like it didn’t have any messaging on this issue at all. That’s maddening, given the fact that getting stronger on school choice could help the party make some inroads with voting blocs that traditionally vote for Democrats, like in inner cities.

This is a very good time for the Republicans to do some of that pouncing that the mainstream media so often accuses them of doing.

If it doesn’t, this is the political version of leaving money on the table. Something that the party can ill afford to do amid all the current chaos.

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