DEAR JOE BIDEN: Study Finds That School Choice Reduces Teen Suicide — Do You Still Oppose It?

Written by K. Walker on December 22, 2020

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If political policies are now based on “saving just one life” then shouldn’t we push for school choice?

Joe Biden and Public School unions across the country have been very open about their opposition to school choice. A new study shows that school choice can play a significant role in mental health. Now that the results are out there for everyone to see, it’s pretty clear that opposition to school choice is about their own selfish agendas rather than what’s best for students. For Joe, it’s to ingratiate himself with the teachers’ unions — a very powerful voting bloc — and for the unions, it’s to squash competition and keep taxpayer funding for themselves no matter how much they suck.

Teen depression and suicide have been getting worse in recent years. The Washington Post reported that suicides of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 have spiked 56% from 2007 to 2017. The National Institute of Mental Health reported in 2017 that suicide is the second leading cause of death for US residents aged 15 to 34 and the third leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 14. That has only been exacerbated further with the pandemic.

A new study, however, shows that states that adopt charter school laws witness declines in adolescent suicides.

School choice programs can help alleviate this pain and suffering by allowing more young people the educational opportunities that best fit their needs. These policies include the expansion of charter schools and tuition voucher programs that provide low-income families with money to attend private schools.

With those options, families don’t have to remain trapped into sending their child to the local public school by default. So, for students who face bullying or are not at schools that suit their needs, they can go elsewhere. Families who like their public schools and students who are succeeding there are, of course, free to choose to stay put.

The new study shows the benefit that choice brings to those who need it. Authored by the Reason Foundation’s Corey DeAngelis and economist Angela Dills, it provides empirical backing to the intuitive conclusion that school choice can reduce suicide among teenagers.

The study didn’t just examine the state of mental health in children but followed through with how private schooling affected adult mental health. The conclusion was that the results of the study “suggest that private schooling reduces the likelihood that individuals report having mental health issues as adults.”

The study concludes that “the estimated effect of a charter school law translates to about a 10% decrease in the suicide rate among 15 to 19-year-olds.” In addition, 30-year-old adults who had attended private school were 2% less likely to report having a mental health condition.

Well, that’s promising, right?

Besides, parents want choice in education.

And yet… Joe Biden ran against school choice.

The New York Post reported on November 30 that a Biden administration will be tough on charter schools.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who showed deference to the rise of charter schools and support for school choice, Biden has called for a ban on federal funding for charter schools that are operated by for-profit companies, which account for 12 percent of charter schools, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

He also pledged, as part of the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force, to “support measures to increase accountability for charter schools.”

“We will call for conditioning federal funding for new, expanded charter schools or for charter school renewals on a district’s review of whether the charter will systematically underserve the neediest students,” the task force’s final platform read.
Source: New York Post

Teachers’ unions were opposing charter schools that were still providing education to their students early on in the pandemic.

The author of the study, Corey D’Angelis, noted that there is a growing gap of inequality as wealthy families are leaving public schools in droves.

Why would they do that?

Because it’s not really about what is best for students.

School choice allows students to choose a school that would meet their needs rather than simply be funneled into the local public school based on their address. Sometimes, being able to exercise that choice might just mean the difference between life and death.

Like this example from the Washington Examiner:

Elijah Robinson attempted suicide as a teenager. As a queer, mixed-race student, the bullying at his public school was destroying his life and pushed him into a deep depression…

…But thanks to a Florida school choice program that provides tuition funds for low-income students to attend private schools, the Tax Credit Scholarship, Elijah was able to leave the public school that failed to keep him safe behind. Instead, he enrolled at The Foundation Academy ,a private Christian school that protects students from bullying and does not discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Elijah now says, “I definitely am in a better place.”

While Elijah’s story is particularly extreme and moving, it speaks to the core of what school choice offers. It gives students an opportunity not only to get a better education but to be in a better place. I spoke to school choice advocacy group American Federation for Children communications director Tommy Schultz, who made it clear that the school choice movement is focused on students like Elijah, too.

Source: Washington Examiner

School choice is better for students’ mental health and will force schools to compete for students. In the long-run, that means improvement for all students — even the ones at the public schools.

Why is it Democrats oppose it? Because, to them, school is not about education, but indoctrination.

As Corey D’Angelis often writes on Twitter, “Fund students, not systems.”

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll and on Gettr @KarenWalker