The Problems with School Choice

Seems to me, programs that encourage parents to send their kids to schools outside of their immediate neighborhood is a bad idea in a number of ways:

  1. Gives parents no incentive to improve their schools or neighborhoods.
  2. Makes bad schools worse by reducing their resources.
  3. Redirects education dollars into fuel tanks to bus kids further away and back.
  4. Increases the strain and demand on “good” schools, making them less good.

My kid isn’t school age yet, the schools in my neighborhood are pretty good.

There’s a parallel in here with immigration. Until Mexico is a place worth staying at, borders will continue to be jumped. This only helps the bus drivers.

6 thoughts on “The Problems with School Choice

  1. Why should a child, whose parents can’t afford to move, be forced into an inferior school while her neighbor a few blocks away has the luxury of a superior school. I know this unfair to the schools, that you’ve already described, but at the child level, it is extremely unfair.

  2. “it is extremely unfair to not give the child a choice.”

    One reason we have superior and inferior schools is BECAUSE of school choice.

    School joice is a great concept until your own kid hits school age. Then you begin to see all the problems with it. Garrick brought up many of the main ones.

    One that wasn’t mentioned was the extreme segregation in most of the schools in Saint Paul. Both economically and racially (which, tend to fall along the same lines these days, sadly).

    The few schools that are evenly balanced in terms of demographics also tend to be the better schools and the ones most in demand…ergo, the ones we can’t get into to.

    In the end, as Garrick points out, all of this ends up penalizing a lot of the local schools. *THAT* is what I feel is most unfair to the child.

    I love Saint Paul. But it looks like School Choice is going to be pushing us out to the first ring ‘burbs soon.

  3. A part of the story being ignored here is what happens when you have a child with a learning disability. My son attended a school in a poorer school district. He had great friends and loved his teachers. I could not get him the Title-1 reading help and speech classes he needed when he began to fall a grade behind. The school had limited resources and too many children who need help. I also had to fight to get him into summer school. The poorer school’s only suggestion was to hold my son back, which I refused. I moved to another school district so I could place him in a better school where I was able to obtain the extra help he needs. There is a limited window of time where we can catch a learning disability and turn it around before the child’s self esteem is gone and he or she stops trying. An education is nothing to mess around with. In Europe parents do not tolorate poor performing schools period, unfortunately we don’t have that kind of parental power here. Just try and fight the system for something children need. Often, parents are treated like a nut-cases. I am happy to say my son is now at grade in reading, still in speech class overcoming his studdering and 3 grades ahead in math. This never would have happened at the old school.

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