In each and every one of those cases, GOP lawmakers have said: Well, that’s how school choice works. Parents get to choose.

So if you walk into a taxpayer-funded voucher school that won’t serve your child because she is gay or has Asperger’s syndrome, you should simply choose another school.

If you discover your kid’s math teacher never got a college degree, isn’t certified to teach and wasted a year of your child’s educational life, just choose somewhere else.

But now that the governor has lodged wild and unproven accusations about Chinese, communist indoctrination, these same politicians are suddenly no longer smitten with choice and freedom. Suddenly, they want consequences … but only in a few, select instances.

In doing so, they reveal their values. No concern about discrimination or education. Just politicization. And even then, only when a presidential candidate who’s 40 points behind in the polls lodges a wild and desperate accusation to stir up attention on the eve of a debate.

We’ll talk more about the substance of those accusations (or lack thereof) in a moment. But first, it’s worth noting that Ron DeSantis accidentally admitted a truth that supporters of unregulated choice have previously tried to deny — that taxpayer dollars directly fund these schools.

In lodging his unsubstantiated accusations that a few schools in Florida — including the widely respected Park Maitland in Maitland — were trying “to influence students with a communist ideology,” DeSantis said he refused to allow “Floridians’ tax dollars” to go to those schools.

The first part of that statement was a sketchy accusation. The second was a major admission.

See, until now, unregulated-choice advocates have disingenuously argued that taxpayers don’t really fund these voucher schools that discriminate and hire unqualified teachers. Yes, the state approves these schools as legitimate recipients of voucher money. But lawmakers and the private-school industry claim the schools themselves aren’t taxpayer-funded since the state simply gives parents a voucher, and then the parents decide what to do with it.

It is nonsensical logic — like giving $50 to your buddy Bob, telling Bob he’s welcome to spend it buying drugs from Dealer Dan and then, when he does just that, indignantly asking: How dare you accuse me of supporting Dealer Dan?

Well, we always knew that defense was horse hockey. Now at least the governor has admitted as much, even if he didn’t mean to. These schools are definitely funded with “Floridians’ tax dollars.”

There’s also the question of whether there’s any truth to the accusation that these schools are trying to raise little commies. It seems similar to boogeyman-conjuring we saw last year when DeSantis’ book-banning buddies in the education department were waging their war-on-woke and claimed they found radical race theories tucked inside middle school math books. The vast majority of reviewers said the math books were teaching … math. But the boogeyman crowd squinted their eyes and claimed they saw arithmetic lessons were secretly teaching kids that 1+1 = cRItiCAl rACe tHEoRy!

It seems a bit bonkers to suggest that Park Maitland, with its $20,000 tuition, is teaching communism instead of civics.

And if Chinese investment is reason enough to boycott a company, then Florida leaders should be boycotting much of the Fortune 500. And toss out all their cell phones.

Now compare that manufactured hysteria to the proven problems we’d found at other state-approved voucher schools:

  • Schools with handbooks that say they will only accept students who autcan walk on their own or who have no “limited intellectual functions (such as Autism, Asperger’s, Down’s syndrome, etc.)”

  • More than 80 schools with written policies saying they will expel any student who says they are gay or even has anyone living in their home with a “homosexual lifestyle”

  • Schools employing teachers without college degrees, ones that couldn’t even keep jobs at day care centers and are such messes that they have teacher turnover rates of 83%.

  • Schools where the parents themselves have filed complaints like: “Cleaning lady substituting for teacher,” “Children of all ages are running out of classrooms screaming and hitting each other,” “They don’t provide lunch and they don’t even have a place to eat” and “I don’t see any evidence of academics.”

DeSantis and his political pals are fine with funding all that — schools where proper education clearly isn’t happening or institutional discrimination clearly is.

They only start talking about accountability and reining in “choice” now that politics is at play … making their priorities and values crystal clear.