School Choice – An Unwise Option
The topic of charter schools and vouchers is an ongoing debate that is currently being argued in places from the local school board meetings to state supreme courts. Both charter schools and school voucher programs are collectively referred to as “school choice” initiatives, in that they allow parents to choose educational options for their children that are outside of the traditional public school system. A school voucher program provides parents with certificates that are used to pay for education at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they are assigned. Charter schools on the other hand are publicly funded schools that have been freed from some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools. In exchange, charter schools have specialized accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter. As Americans we enjoy choices and often associate choice as something positive. Being able to choose a school may sound like a reasonable initiative on the surface, but after a closer look it has serious problems. School choice turns out to not only be a bad idea; it’s also a violation of our constitution.
Considering the many challenges facing public schools, it’s understandable that many people would be eager to pursue new options. Supporters of school choice point out that under the current public school system, parents with economic means already exercise school choice by moving from areas with failing or dangerous schools to neighborhoods with better, safer schools. Their argument is that school choice would allow all parents the freedom, regardless of income Liles 2
level, to select the school that provides the best education (Chub and Moe). Schools would then have to compete for students by offering higher academic results and greater safety. Schools unable to measure up to the standards of successful schools would fail and possibly close....
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