Yes, since he has no choice, nobody should. Is that the argument? Oh, by the way, he too would have a choice, maybe not in your small Texas town -but somewhere. Like taxicab oligopolies, public Schools have become a cabal of unions and corporations that benefit from a “national school system” attempting to deny to us any other options. They want to decide how your child’s education dollars will be spent. To do this they must deny us any other options.
The only logical fallacy here is yours.
“If the school choice reformers have their way, not only will those rural schools suffer, but schools like the high school where I taught will be devastated.”
The false dilemma you pose is that we can’t offer great public education while simultaneously encouraging other options. You are, in effect, denying other children the very same specialized instruction that your example receives: smaller class sizes, more teachers per student, individualized learning plans, self pacing, safety from violence and bullying.
As for the “fixed cost” of serving the boy in the wheelchair… When this boy graduates will your small Texas town produce an equally handicapped boy to take his place? Nothing in public education is a fixed cost. Not the staff, not the buses, not even the buildings. Nor are there fixed revenue.
School isn’t education, and never shall be.
I hope we all agree with Jefferson that for our democracy to succeed the population must be well informed. Public schools are an invention of the Industrial Age. In the era of mass production, mass training was effective at indoctrination, but not education. School choice may not be the panacea for all of our society’s ills but at least it can save some young minds from imposed mediocrity until we retool the industry.