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Choosing (and paying) for a school is like choosing a gallon of milk

During yesterday’s school voucher debate, Rep. Bert Jones (R-Casewell, Rockingham) compared the ability to select any school for your child (using taxpayer money) to selecting your favorite milk:

“Just because you support HB 944 would not mean, as the opponents would make it seem, that you are against public education,” said Jones. “That basically means that … just because you purchase 2% milk means that something is wrong with whole milk, or 1%, or chocolate milk, or fat free milk, or all the milks out there now that aren’t even milk.”

Jones’ remarks seemed off the cuff as he spoke in support of the Opportunity Scholarship Act, which would provide $4,200 vouchers to parents wishing to send their kids to private schools. The legislation would take $100 million from the public school system over three years.

However, Jones is not the only person to have likened school choice to milk consumption. In his remarks last year to the Republican National Convention, Florida’s Jeb Bush, arguably one of the highest profile proponents of school vouchers in the nation, also conjured up a bovine analogy when talking about the merits of school choice:

“Everywhere in our lives, we get the chance to choose,” he said in a prepared version of his remarks sent to reporters. “Go down any supermarket aisle – you’ll find an incredible selection of milk. You can get whole milk, 2% milk, low-fat milk or skim milk. Organic milk, and milk with extra Vitamin D. There’s flavored milk- chocolate, strawberry or vanilla – and it doesn’t even taste like milk. They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.”

“Shouldn’t parents have that kind of choice in schools?” Bush said.

In his analogy yesterday, Jones did not address the issue of how individual milk choices would be funded.

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