By Israel Teitelbaum
The greatest barrier standing in the way of passage of universal school choice legislation, which is solidly based on the foundation of liberty and free enterprise, is the fact that universal school choice is “politically impossible.” Despite the fact that Milton Friedman’s plan, empowering parents to send their children to the school of their choice, is the only practical way to restore accountability to the system, it remains politically impossible to achieve in New Jersey.
Factually, the evidence confirming this is overwhelming. Since 1990, when the good people of Milwaukee were the first in America to achieve a limited school choice program, after winning a ten-year political battle, New Jerseyans have tried and failed to achieve even a tiny “pilot program.” For the past two decades both Democrats and Republicans have been working on one, and despite bipartisan support, it was never allowed to come to the floor of the State Legislature for debate or vote.
Those now holding the keys to New Jersey government will NEVER surrender their control of education, as this would spell political suicide. The question we all need to ask ourselves is: Are we willing to allow our children and families to be deprived of our civil and human right to our own destiny? If the answer is NO, we need to ask ourselves: How can we change the political reality?
History has proven, time and again, that we all have the potential to change the political reality. It requires commitment, faith and action. No one can do it alone. But we all can accomplish this together, when each of us places our fingers to the task.
Commitment is called for even when help appears to be impossible. Rescuers race daily, and do all they can to save lives, without regard to whether or not they believe it possible. Throughout the ages our forbearers have fought for liberty, emancipation, womens’ suffrage and civil rights under “impossible” conditions. Yet, they persevered and succeeded.
Faith is another quality that compels us to take action on behalf of liberty and justice, whether or not we see victory over the horizon. Trust in our Creator is reason enough to take the action needed to create the suitable vessel for His boundless blessings.
Action is most critical, without which the impossible becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. The ONLY way to change the political reality is by electing representatives who truly represent our needs and that of our children. This requires our votes and that of everyone within our circle of influence. It requires communication, influence and financial support.
It is most apparent to every keen observer that our society now stands at a grave precipice. All of society is a direct outgrowth of the seeds planted into the education of our children. History clearly tells us: STOP THIS NOW, WHILE WE STILL CAN.
Please, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and all society, do all that you can to empower parents to send their children to the school of their choice NOW, while we have a window of opportunity open before us.
Israel Teitelbaum is cofounder and secretary of Alliance for Free Choice in Education. He can be reached at 973-820-6121 or Israel@SchoolChoiceNJ.org.