The transformation of Wyoming’s once-promising Education Savings Account (ESA) bill, HB-0019, into its current form resembles less a legislative process and more a classic mob-style shakedown. This supposed educational reform, initially championed to empower parents, has been hijacked by unseen forces, subtly molding it to serve the interests of a powerful education bureaucracy.
As we delve into the nuances of HB-0019, it’s hard to ignore the parallels to a mob operation. The bill’s journey from last year’s promising ESA proposal to its current iteration brings to mind a back-alley deal orchestrated by puppeteers in the shadows, reminiscent of figures like Speaker Albert “BudgetBully” Sommers and his consigliere Rep. Steve “BigEducation” Harshman, both known for never shying away from excessive education spending.
The Disguised Flaws of HB-0019:
- Preschool Inclusion – The Bureaucratic Power Play: Including preschool in the ESA bill seems more of a strategic move to expand bureaucratic reach than an effort to enhance educational choice. This oversteps beyond the state’s constitutional mandate, echoing the tactics of a mob expanding its territory.
- Income Eligibility – Financial Gatekeeping: The introduction of an income threshold creates a divide, selectively granting access to the ESA program. This maneuver mirrors the mob’s way of controlling who gets protection and who doesn’t, undermining the Supreme Court’s vision of equal education for all.
- Fixed Funding – A Fiscal Straitjacket: By not adjusting for inflation, the fixed funding amount of $5,000 per student caps the program’s potential, echoing a mob boss’s move to keep things under control. This approach fails to account for the dynamic nature of educational costs, particularly for parents seeking alternative schooling options.
- Administrative Overreach – The Puppet Strings: The shift towards bureaucratic oversight in HB-0019 hints at a desire to keep a tight grip on the program, much like a mob boss pulling strings from behind the scenes. This undermines the very essence of parental choice and independence in education.
The inclusion of preschool in HB-0019 is a strategic maneuver by the educational bureaucracy mafia, not to enhance educational choice, but to expand their territory under the guise of reform. This move is particularly insidious, as it appears to serve as a Trojan horse for an agenda far beyond the state’s constitutional mandate, which is focused on school-age children. Alarmingly, there are whispers that some Democrats view this bill as a backdoor to smuggle in universal preschool as part of the state’s educational mandate. This strategy is not about bolstering early education for the sake of our children’s development; rather, it’s about extending the reach of an already overbearing educational bureaucracy. By pushing for the inclusion of preschool, these forces are attempting to rewrite the constitutional framework under which Wyoming operates, potentially leading us down a path where state control oversteps its bounds, encroaching on the rights and choices of Wyoming’s families.
The income eligibility requirement in HB-0019 stands as a glaring example of discrimination, blatantly contradicting both the Wyoming Constitution and Supreme Court rulings. By setting a financial threshold, the bill effectively sidelines a significant portion of Wyoming’s families, including single moms who work tirelessly to provide for their children. Consider a single mother working as a billing specialist in a doctor’s office with a salary of $55,000 or a single mom working as a truck driver in the thriving coal industry, earning $80,000. Despite their hard work and relatively modest earnings, these mothers would find themselves ineligible for the ESA program due to its arbitrary income cap set at 250% of the Federal Poverty Line. This criterion not only unjustly excludes families like theirs but also undermines the fundamental principle of equal educational opportunity for all children, as upheld by the Wyoming Supreme Court. It’s a policy that discriminates based on income, disregarding the diverse financial challenges Wyoming families face, and deviates from the state’s commitment to providing accessible education to every child, regardless of their family’s financial standing.
A viable ESA bill must wrestle control away from the clutches of the educational mafia who will twist the program away from empowering parents. It must reinstate the State Treasurer as the overseer of the ESA program. The Treasurer’s involvement is not just about financial management; it’s a crucial move to maintain a healthy distance from the bureaucratic tentacles that seek to shape the program for their own ends. Entrusting the program’s oversight to the Treasurer ensures a level of independence and objectivity vital for preserving the essence of educational choice and freedom. This shift is akin to placing a watchful guardian at the gate, ensuring that the decisions made about our children’s education are driven by fiscal responsibility and transparency, not by the whims of a self-serving educational elite. It’s about safeguarding the program from becoming another cog in the machinery of the educational bureaucracy mafia, ensuring it remains a tool for empowerment, not control.
In this shadowy narrative, Rep. Ocean Andrew emerges as the reformer, challenging the status quo and fighting to steer HB-0019 back to its original, noble intent. His battle is against more than policy – it’s against a deep-rooted system that favors control over freedom.
To rescue HB-0019 from the clutches of this educational mob, Wyoming needs a bill that truly reflects its commitment to educational choice and equality. This means a bill free from bureaucratic overreach, with provisions that genuinely serve the interests of families, not the education establishment.
The story of HB-0019 is a wake-up call to recognize and confront the covert forces manipulating our educational policies. We must support leaders like Rep. Andrew, who are fighting for a bill that embodies true educational freedom. Let’s unite to transform HB-0019 from a victim of a legislative shakedown into a symbol of hope and opportunity for Wyoming’s educational future.