A voice – and a song – for choice

John E. Coons

Jack Coons co-authored “Education by Choice” in 1978 with fellow Berkeley law professor Stephen Sugarman.

School choice is an idea that, without offense to its opponents, one could call “happy.”

It simply addresses the world of common folk, urging their personal involvement in the national political quest for educational empowerment as a liberation from an undeserved servitude of the low-income parent and child. It is, one could say, a song to be sung on an underground railroad heading for poor families’ freedom.

Did you know that there is, in fact, such a song? It came out of the hail of promoted and badly designed initiatives of the ’90s, all of which failed. It survived. The words go like this:

If you’re rich, your ride can switch

To the school you think is best.

If you’re not

They might get caught

In a school that flunks your test.


Give a rip and you may well see

What a little choice can do.

Take a tip from Clinton’s Chelsea

Maybe choice is good for you.

The tune is simple, powerful, catchy. I have sung it for the folks at Step Up For Students, which hosts this blog. Please feel free to use it; it might make a media blunt for your next campaign.

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