As Local Governments Evaporate, Working People Freed to Choose Schooling and Security

September 2, 2020 Updated: September 2, 2020

Commentary

If parents think school is safe enough for their children to attend classes, teachers should have to decide if they still want their jobs or not. Those who don’t show up to teach when classes start should be considered to have quit because they think their chosen profession is now too dangerous. No pay for no-show work.

What are taxpayers getting for all their money in public education now?

“Nine out of ten black boys in Baltimore City are not reading at grade level,” said Jack Pannell in 2017, founder and president of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys. That private school has longer school days, but shorter class periods, better suited to the attention span of boys, who are naturally less patient.

Teachers at that school are 60 percent male, which is more effective in teaching boys. But there are no girls at the all-male school, as they distract from the attention span of boys.

Press reports showed 13 Baltimore City High Schools had zero students proficient in math in 2017, for a total of 39 public schools citywide.

Taxpayers should bring up reconsideration of their property taxes with local officials. They should demand their taxes be suspended if they are no longer receiving free public schooling for their children. President Donald Trump is proposing that for school districts that do not provide classroom teaching this fall, extra funds would go to parents for the private school of their choice.

A good example is Baltimore City, run by liberal Democrats for more than a century. In 2017, Baltimore spent $16,184 a year per student, according to the Census, up by 6.7 percent over the prior year, when Baltimore ranked fifth nationally in per student spending. That placed Baltimore as the third highest in the nation.

That is more than enough to pay for a private school education, particularly at Catholic schools, according to the National Catholic Education Association.

Taxpayers should be free to use property tax funds to pay for the private school of their choice for their own children. Privatize the public schools if local governments can no longer provide public schooling. No taxation without local government services.

Policing

Ditto that for local policing, too. Private for-profit security companies would never tolerate the abusive policing we have seen even from the most liberal city governments. They would know they would be sued out of business if they did not operate as Black Lives Matter would approve.

The murder rate for Baltimore rose in 2019 over 2018 from 309 up to 348, an increase of nearly 12 percent, during a period of collapse in total population. Rapes hover at near record highs, with 361 rapes citywide (59.6/100,000 people) in 2018. Robberies have exceeded 5,000 (863.8/100,000) for the last 3 years in a row.

Assaults and other violent crimes all show the Ferguson Effect, as cities agreed to operate under a federally mandated police consent decree to show tolerance for criminal behavior, the most recent devastating blow to safety in our cities. The current wave of unrest is further destroying the economic viability of our cities under failed socialist leadership, with “reallocation” of police funding, a euphemism for defunding the police.

This economic and security collapse will cause an additional surge in crime and poverty, pushing our cities into a death spiral once and for all. The anarchist Leninist agenda will then be complete.

Here, too, taxpayers should take the initiative as their local governments evaporate. As free local government schools and security disappear because left-wing governments can no longer operate to provide them, and criminals are freed from jail as soon as arrested because of so-called “bail reform laws,” taxpayers should take the initiative to sign up for security from professional for-profit security firms, who can operate their own private sector jails and prisons and even courts. All for negotiated fees charged in competitive private markets.

Responsible, professional police unions, unlike teachers unions, should be welcomed as the perfect partners for private small businesses, property owners, and taxpayers. Redirect property taxes, and federal funds through school choice as Trump has proposed, to the private schools, police, courts, and jails that are still operating to provide the services.

David D. Wallace is a small businessman from suburban Baltimore, president of the FAIR Energy Foundation, and a former Republican candidate for Congress from the 8th District of Maryland.

Peter Ferrara, J.D., is a senior fellow for the FAIR Energy Foundation, the National Tax Limitation Foundation, and The Heartland Institute. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan and as associate deputy attorney general under Attorney General Bill Barr and President George H.W. Bush, and as the Dunn Liberty Fellow in Economics for The King’s College in New York.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.