ESAs are Vouchers

Several of us had a conversation with Michael Fields of Americans for Prosperity on Twitter on Sunday morning. Or at least tried. It’s nearly impossible to have a real conversation with someone who will only quote tweet you to share his talking points.

It started with this:

The evidence cited is…an opinion commentary by the “founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools”

Nooooo, that’s not biased at all…and several people pointed that out.

Now, remember, we just told you about vouchers being called ESA’s in our War of Words article –

Now, Michael doubles down on how great ESAs are.

But, we have smart people who use their voices to speak up for all children.

In order to understand what they really want from ESAs, a question has to be asked. What option do we not have that you are wanting? Maybe it’s something we could agree upon?

Why not build up the capacity at our current schools and do more for all children?

Yes, he did just compare educating children to the telecom industry. Again, what is it you’re wanting that we don’t already have?

Finally – here’s a start!

Michael believes in basic economic principles. This is great, I do too! Supply and demand, opportunity costs, etc.!

But then he tells me to “keep fighting against choice” – what????

I’ve never made it a secret that my daughter attended a GT center program from 1st through 6th grade and picked The Manning School for middle school because she wanted that musical theatre program. I have one child and can manage this, not everyone has this ability and when I advocate, my ethical responsibility is to consider all children. When I volunteer at our elementary school (I still do this even though we aren’t attending any longer), I work with children who only have the option of their neighborhood school and most parents can’t run around the county getting their children to school. Why not work harder to do more at the schools these children will be attending? I have NEVER fought against choice.


But he still won’t answer the question – what choice do you want that we don’t have? Well, he never answered that and I’m not holding my breath that he’ll have a discussion about it anytime soon since the next person to respond was this person, from Arlington, Virginia.

Who is this guy? Well, this explains it…another AFP “communications expert” from Arlington, VA.

I suppose we should be honored that vocal moms and dads in Jeffco require the effort of a paid operative all the way from Virginia when the talking points don’t cover the questions being asked.

Ultimately, ESAs are just vouchers with a different name. A name created by “communications professionals.” Paid operatives.


If AFP really wants to help, invest in the schools instead of spending $200,000 mailers to tell people that school choice is working and pushing for vouchers. Colorado voters have already said NO, loudly. Twice. And then there’s the legal battle Douglas County is still going though due to the fake entity created to funnel money to private schools.

Remember the buzzwords they use! This language will be used a lot in the sale of vouchers and other tools (such as ESAs) to privatize public ed.

  • “educational choice”
  • “choice-minded majorities”
  • “parental choice”
  • “educational freedom”
  • “full-spectrum parental choice”
  • “Choice Scholarship Program”
  • “Blaine clauses… Rooted deeply in a history of religious suppression”
  • “Aid is provided to parents who, in turn, select the schools they believe to be right for their children”
  • “anti-choice majority”
  • “religious discrimination”
  •  “parental choice created by the Choice Scholarship Program”

“We are asking you all to remember this is a war of words. It only works if we let it. It only works if we don’t correct misuse of these common terms.   It only works if we don’t push our candidates to clarify – when they announce they “support choice,” do they support private school choice or public school choice. It only works if we don’t demand clarification and state clearly what we expect. And when bad legislation is introduced at our state capitol, we need to speak up loudly and often.”

Clearly, this is to be continued. And clearly, some of us aren’t paid operatives and still have real children.

Hope to see you on Twitter!