I will grant that special students require more resources than the typical student. That is not sufficient reason to maintain the status quo for all students, however. Since we now spend more per child with special needs, presumably, a well-designed “voucher” system would provide a higher value voucher for students with special needs.
That seems to be the crux of the argument against school choice as presented in this article, aside from the implication that public school teachers care more about students (all evidence to the contrary aside). I think a careful investigation would show a similar portion of highly dedicated teachers in both public and private schools.
You argue that public schools are a reflection of the value we as a society put on educating children. This is absolutely true. But this is not an argument in favor of a particular education model. If we, as a society, also funded private schools, then that funding would also be a reflection of the value we put on education.
You object to what you view as a dichotomy between the entrenched [educational] status quo and [educational] models that empower the individual. I assume that you mean that public schools (the entrenched educational status quo) can also empower individuals. I have to agree. The stereotype of a public school treating all students like “another brick in the wall” is not always or even usually valid. I believe all competent teachers evaluate each student as an individual and attempt to teach that student according to his or her needs.
However, what Sec’y DeVos said remains true. The players in the entrenched educational system (teachers, administrators and politicians) have clearly resisted a system that would empower parents as individuals making educational decisions on behalf of their children (starting with which school they would choose for them). It is folly to deny this.
[I should point out that I am the father of a special needs child in a public school and I am almost universally pleased with the services she has received from her excellent teachers, counselors and administrators. This is not intended as a rant against public schools.]