Public schools' "boo-humbug" demonstrates the value of charter schools

October 31, 2013 | By ANASTASIA BODEN

Happy Halloween, everyone!

…except to those unlucky students whose administrators have instead taken the position of “boo-humbug.”  As our friends at Reason explain, some overzealous school officials have gone Ebenezer Scrooge two months early, and waged a war on Halloween.  Citing concerns ranging from peanut allergies to obesity, these schools have prohibited dressing up in costume and passing out candy in class.  As Nick Gillepsie notes, these drastic measures don’t teach children anything more than that “we are a society that is so scared of its own shadow that we can’t even enjoy ourselves anymore. We live in fear of what might be called the killjoy’s veto, where any complaint is enough to destroy even the least objectionable fun.”

On the bright side, the resulting skirmishes between administrators and parents demonstrate the value of charter schools, and school choice more broadly—which allows parents and children to choose which school to attend based on their common interests, rather than by district mandate.  When parents have a choice over where they send their children to school, there is less potential for conflict.  After all, if parents don’t like one school’s policy, they can simply send their children elsewhere.  School choice measures—like charter schools, voucher programs, and tax credits—also force schools to compete for student attendance, and improve and innovate both in the classroom and with regard to school policy.  Perhaps for this reason, school choice measures are becoming increasingly popular.  As parents are recognizing, liberty is a ghoul’s parent’s best friend.

To read about PLF’s K-12 Reform Project, see here.