The governor of California just signed a law making it very hard for parents to send kids to school without vaccines. So, it turns out that if you want to send your kids to public school, you have to give up control over medical decisions.
We have a history in the US of making people jump through hoops to receive social services. You need to go to parenting courses to receive child care aid. You need to participate in child IQ evaluations to receive subsidized physical therapy for kids. You need to go to special doctor appointments to get anxiety medicines through Medicare.
We accept that the government exerts more control over people who ask for more help.
Therefore it starts to make sense that if you want to send your kids to school, you have to get your kids vaccinated. Because you already had to let the government decide how fast your kids should eat (some schools have 15 minute lunches). You let the government decide how much exercise your kids get during the day (it’s not enough). You let the government decide how much homework your kid must do each night (it’s too much). So we shouldn’t be surprised when lawmakers add more hoops for people to jump through to put their kids in school.
The problem is that the more hoops there are, the more school becomes a place for poor kids—like a housing project for when the parents are away.
In California, statistics show that as many as 90% of parents in high-income schools are not vaccinating. And the rich people make similar decisions all over the country. (Believe me, I’m one of those people and low-income people don’t have the time or the energy to fight all the doctors and administrators I’ve had to fend off to keep my kids vaccine free when they were younger.)
Another law could have been written, maybe to require measles shots but not all the others. Many people think the sweeping laws of California are unconstitutional in demands lawmakers put on school children.
So vaccines remind us of two huge trends in education right now: rich people are leaving public school and lawmakers are using public education as a way to control poor people.