Critics of school choice often argue that choice will allow "just anybody" to establish a school, leading to a proliferation of schools that are fraudulent or dedicated to radical ideologies.  There is no evidence to support this claim.  Choice at the college level has not resulted in an excess of fraudulent or radical schools.  Additionally, the U.S. Constitution protects even radical ideologies, while laws against fraud and violence protect consumers from criminal activity.

The Facts:

  • The First Amendment protects freedom of choice.  The same argument against "radical" or fraudulent schools could be used against the freedoms of speech and press:  "If we allow anybody to start a newspaper, somebody might print a bad one," or, "If we let anybody give a speech, somebody might say something we don't agree with."  The protection of freedom embodied in the U.S. Constitution defends the right of people to make good choices as well as bad ones and to hold popular views as well as unpopular ones.

  • Laws against discrimination and fraud already exist.  Laws against discrimination, corruption, fraud, and other illegal activities protect consumers in other industries.  They would apply to education as well.

  • Competition will increase accountability and discourage the creation of radical and fraudulent schools.  Substandard, "radical," or fraudulent schools could not thrive under a free market in education because parents would have the choice to send their children to other schools.  Parents who voluntarily give their money to a school in return for a good education will do so only as long as they are provided with an adequate product or service.  It is true that when freedom abounds, the opportunity for abuse exists.  However, the key is choice:  Many parents may accept what they believe is a substandard education for their children because they have no practical alternatives to their local government school. 

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