Posted in Miscellaneous

School Choice

newpic-1I recently completed a project in my Foundations of Education class where I researched school choice, which is a broad term for various measures designed to allow parents and students more options for schooling than just their neighborhood school. I’ve heard a lot about school choice but have never had enough details to form an opinion on it. I thought I would present some of what I learned.

Some of the school choice measures include:

  • Vouchers: Students can take money that would’ve been spent on them in a public school and use it to attend a private school. This is usually designed for people who can’t afford private school.
  • Charter Schools: Schools funded by the government but managed privately.
  • Homeschooling: Parents teach their children.
  • Tuition Tax Credit: People and corporations can donate money to organizations (STOs) that give scholarships to students in low-income families who want to attend private school. They then get a tax deduction for the money donated.
  • Magnet Schools: Specialty schools that are developeed by a district. Their focus can be vocational, fine arts, math/science, accelerated learning, etc.
  • Open Enrollment: Students can choose to go to a different school in their own district (intra-district) or between districts (inter-district).
  • Private Schools: Students can pay to go to a privately run school.
School-Choice1As you can see, there are a wide variety of programs that fall under school choice. Some of them are obviously more well established and accepted (e.g. private schools and homeschooling) while others are very controversial. Here are some of the pros and cons that people have argued about school choice:

Pros Cons
Competition forces creation of new programs and ideas to improve schools It favors those with means of transporting their children to other schools
Low-performing schools are forced to innovate Will not help those in rural areas
Parental choice Drains public school funding and hard to adapt school budgets
Alleviate burden on public school system (with some school choice options) Other types of schools aren’t held as accountable
Some say it produces better results with reduced costs Some say it doesn’t produce greater results

I think this is a very important issue and I found it helpful to learn more about school choice so I can have an informed opinion. If you would like to find out more information, I found the Education Commision for the States website to be a good resource.


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