Parents for Choice in Education Advocates Against School Vouchers

Parents for Choice in Education seems to me to be a seamy, mysterious organization. Yet they are here in Utah advocating on behalf of school vouchers. Wouldn't it be interesting if, at some time in the future, it were revealed that PCE actually was working to see vouchers defeated in Utah? Based on some of their tactics thus far, you would have to color me not surprised at all.

There are several good reasons to support school vouchers in Utah. But it is important to remember that good people are on both sides of this issue. Parents for Choice in Education, a national group, interjected itself somewhat mysteriously into the voucher debate in Utah, inflaming it into a controversy. I wrote previously on SUMP, that my greatest fear about education vouchers in Utah is that
...when the smoke clears, the activities of the voucher battlefield will have inspired an even more vitriolic baseline for the future of our political warfare.
It now seems that Parents for Choice in Education has created that battlefield and is in the process of perfecting it.

Push Polling
First there was the push poll, discussed (among other places) here and here, wherein PCE asked a polling question along the lines of 'if you knew voucher opponents also supported gay marriage would you be more likely to vote for vouchers?'

It would be interesting to run this push poll question: Based on what you've learned or heard from Parents For Choice in Education, are you more or less likely to vote for vouchers in the November referendum.? If the info from PCE was the only information I had I would indicate "Much Less Likely" as my answer to the poll question.

Ad Campaigns
Here's a pretty tame one. While not mentioning that PCE has spent probably more money in Utah, this ad uses propaganda to pit Utah parents against "liberal Washington special interests" and the National Education Association. Hat tip: Green Jello.

I've cringed as I've heard far worse versions of this ad on local radio stations.

Cavorting with Known Spam Artists and Political 'Hitmen'
It's been shown here, here, and here (among several other sources) that PCE likely solicited the aid from muckraker and spam/spin artist extraordinaire, Mark Towner, to decieve those in the public schools who are opposed to vouchers, almost getting them to think that was a public school organization that supported vouchers. Towner allegedly received $5,000 for his perfidy. It's hard to imagine that PCE didn't know about Mark Towner's reputation, which it should have steered miles clear of if PCE intended to be looked upon as an organization of noble repute.

This is merely a summary of the evidence against perhaps the most successful school voucher opponent in Utah. PCE is not from Utah, and I'm not sure how they got here. Maybe PCE should leave. If someone could (a) point out any errors in my deduction herein, or (b) provide me more information on where PCE came from, I would be appreciative.

We don't need help like this from proverbial "friends like these". It would be far better to lose the voucher referendum than to win with the mistruths and hate campaigns that have been a large part of the arsenal of the group that calls itself Parents for Choice in Education.


  1. According to the PCE website, the group was founded in Utah. Apparently they have gotten backing from All Children Matter, a PAC funded by Michigan-based Amway heir Dick DeVos, Wal-Mart heirs Jim and John Walton, and a select group of wealthy donors. PCE also got a big contribution from Patrick Byrne, CEO of here in Utah.

    PCE basically bought (or rented) enough Utah legislators to pass HB 148. I'm not sure if the issue is who's local or out-of-state, but what they are doing with all this money.

    Vote for vouchers or Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, the ACLU and will swoop in on black helicopters and kidnap your kids!

  2. Exactly.

    Thanks for the info. I guess I had heard about the Waltons, but not the others. And I didn't know it was founded in Utah.

  3. Your rant is just based on assumptions, and not facts. PCE was founded in Utah, by Utahns, in 2000. Read their political financial filings ( The majority of their funding comes from individuals in Utah.

    The NEA has already spent more to defeat this one referendum than PCE has spent on campaigns IN ITS ENTIRE SEVEN-YEAR EXISTENCE.

  4. But what about all the other donations--Waltons, DeVos, Patrick Byrne, and I'm sure they're others? When these funds are included, is PCE's spending still less than the NEA's?

  5. A rant? Really? Seemed pretty reasonable and fair-minded to me.

    PCE has always been a means to funnel out-of-state money to push vouchers in Utah. A good treatise can be found at:

    I think Jack will eat his words when the dust settles. Expect millions from All Children Matter, et al., before all is said and done.

  6. To me, it doesn't matter where PCE comes from or where it gets its money. What matters to me is that they are inept at accomplishing their stated goals and engage in shady and unsavory practices to try and get their way.

  7. It seems pretty silly to condemn PCE because they aren't from Utah when the most vocal anti-voucher advocates have tons of money from national teacher's unions. I am currently undecided on the voucher debate but the one thing I do know is that all these teacher's unions don't care nearly as much about the kids as they do about their own jobs and their monopoly on teachers across the nation.

  8. You're right. I think the NEA should keep their paws out of it. It just angers me more when the side I'm on stoops to dirty politics. Maybe it should anger me equally...

  9. Frank, as much as you would like to believe differently it was PCE's influence that purchased the voucher law. Just because their true colors are showing doesn't mean they are working against vouchers.

    If vouchers are voted in watch PCE expand all over the US.

    And, as much as you hate to heat it they really is more to this than helping children.

  10. Independent, you are incorrect about teachers. Doug Holmes moved to Utah because of our population's overwhelming allegiance to Republican authority.

    We have become a laboratory for extreme right-wing think tanks, and PCE is just a small apple in a bigger scheme.

    No offense, but this is what happens when you let one political party become an overwhelming majority.

  11. Frank, there have been post about Amway and Wal-mart money for months. Where have you been.

    All Children Matter was also started by Holmes.

  12. I'm sorry for not knowing everything. I'll try to do better.


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