What baby formula and public schools have in common

Abbott’s Michigan plant has resumed its baby formula production after meeting initial government sanitary requirements for reopening, according to a recent company statement. The factory’s closure, coupled with COVID-19 lockdowns and the Food and Drug Administration, left many families scrambling to find formula for their infants and toddlers and even for older kids and adults who depend on specially formulated powders — much of which Abbott makes.

Four companies — Abbott, Nestle SA, Perrigo, and Mead Johnson — are the major formula producers in the United States, controlling 90 percent of the country’s formula supply.

Similarly, traditional public schools have long held a monopoly, writes Raymond Ankrum for Ed Post, owning 90+ percent of the market share. But unlike the “baby formula industry, any move to diversify options for schools is met with harsh resistance.”

One such example is the Biden administration’s new charter school rules that prioritize teachers’ unions over children. Teachers’ unions have long wanted charter schools defunded and have vigorously opposed other forms of parent empowerment, no matter who (students) pays the cost.

“[I]f a bi-partisan Congress can be outraged by the lack of baby food options, there should also be bi-partisan support to open up more school options to parents,” concludes Ankrum.

Support for genuine school choice is growing, and more states are proposing and implementing initiatives that challenge the government’s public education monopoly. It is high time for Minnesota to join these efforts and pass legislation that funds students over systems.