May 14, 2024 Reading Time: 3 minutes
Parents and the Great Schools Massachusetts Coalition join then-Governor Charlie Baker to rally for more public charter schools.

In The Parent Revolution, Corey A. DeAngelis offers a compelling narrative that champions the transformative power of universal school choice in reshaping the American educational landscape. His detailed exposition on how school choice, especially through education savings accounts (ESAs), can fundamentally alter the trajectory of education makes this book an essential read for anyone interested in educational improvement, economic freedom, and societal betterment.

Historical Context and Evolution

DeAngelis pays homage to Milton Friedman, the intellectual progenitor of the school choice movement, and masterfully traces the evolution from Friedman’s voucher system to today’s more sophisticated ESAs. These accounts are not merely funds but keys to unlocking individual potential. By enabling parents’ direct financial control over their children’s education, ESAs facilitate a customized educational experience that can adapt to each student’s unique needs and aspirations. This paradigm shift from institutional funding to individual empowerment is more than a policy adjustment; It is a reclamation of educational agency. 

While my ideal situation would be for politicians and bureaucrats not to be involved in schooling or education, this seems unlikely in the short term, given some form of taxpayer-funded K-12 schooling is in the constitution of every state. We can, however, limit government involvement in education as much as possible. ESAs provide that path so parents are empowered to avoid a monopolistic government school system in favor of a more competitive market for education to meet their kids’ needs, whether that be government schools, private schools, homeschool, co-ops, tutoring, or something else. 

In short, we should “fund students, not systems,” as DeAngelis loves to say, and empower parents, not politicians and bureaucrats.

Empirical Evidence and Societal Benefits

DeAngelis uses abundant evidence to support the effectiveness of ESAs, detailing how states that have implemented these policies witness improved educational outcomes and broad societal improvements. In Arizona and Florida, for instance, where ESAs have been widely adopted, there has been a notable increase in student achievement and parental satisfaction. Moreover, he points to research indicating that school choice initiatives can reduce crime rates and support faster economic growth, underscoring the far-reaching impacts of educational freedom. Real-world examples and testimonials from families benefiting from ESAs add a poignant layer to his argument. These narratives are powerful, illustrating the flexibility of ESAs and their capacity to meet diverse educational needs — from specialized programs for the disabled to accelerated learning for the gifted.

DeAngelis offers a scathing critique of the current public education system, which he rightly calls the “government school system,” focusing particularly on the disproportionate influence of teachers’ unions. He argues that they often prioritize adults’ interests over students’ educational needs, hindering reform and innovation. This critique highlights the entrenched resistance to school choice and positions ESAs as a solution for educational inefficiency and bureaucratic inertia. Moreover, he discusses the misallocation of resources in government schooling, where too much funding is absorbed by administrative overheads rather than being directed into classrooms. He advocates for a more efficient use of educational funds, where money follows the student rather than being tethered to potentially underperforming institutions.

This book is not just an academic treatise but a practical guide for navigating and influencing the complex landscape of educational reform. It is a manifesto for those who believe in the power of education to elevate society and a toolkit for those ready to take part in this crucial endeavor. “The Parent Revolution” serves as a call to arms, providing readers with actionable steps for advocating school choice. DeAngelis outlines strategies for grassroots organizing, legislative engagement, and public persuasion, empowering readers to translate passive agreement into active participation in the educational reform movement. His vision extends beyond immediate educational outcomes. He envisages a society where educational freedom catalyzes lifelong benefits, preparing students not just for tests, but for life. His advocacy for ESAs is framed within a broader narrative of individual liberty and market efficiency.

“The Parent Revolution” is a profoundly influential book that offers a clear, economically sound, and morally compelling case for universal school choice across America and the world. It is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the intersection of education, economics, and policy. DeAngelis advocates for significant education reform and provides a detailed roadmap. His book reaffirms the critical role of choice and competition in improving education, making it a must-read for anyone interested in empowering parents and improving students’ educational outcomes. The key is, of course, to: “Fund students, not systems.”

Vance Ginn

Vance Ginn, Ph.D., is founder and president of Ginn Economic Consulting, LLC and an Associate Research Fellow with AIER. He is chief economist at Pelican Institute for Public Policy and senior fellow at Americans for Tax Reform. He previously served as the associate director for economic policy of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, 2019-20.

Follow him: @VanceGinn.

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