What Does School Choice Really Mean?

 

You—no doubt—have heard the phrase “school choice” before. In the last 10 years, this concept has become an increasingly bigger part of our conversations about education. School choice advocates say that “choice” is about helping parents decide where and how their children get to learn. It means that families have the option to enroll in a school outside their attendance zone if they want. Sounds great, right? Every parent wants the very best for his or her child. Families want to see their kids thrive and ultimately become successful adults. We can all get behind the notion that our children are the future and they deserve the best we as a society can give them.

But the problem with the “school choice” movement is that it doesn’t tell the full story. In fact, much of the time, choice advocates share misleading or flat out deceitful information about the public school districts that educate 90 percent of Texas children—that’s 5.3 million students.

School choice advocates make some of the following arguments:

  • Traditional public schools are “failing.”
  • Though no district or school is perfect, research shows that U.S. public schools are performing quite well, especially compared to nations that do not accept every single child into their schools and considering the number of American students living in poverty. The narrative that schools are “failing” has been fueled by ill-informed politicians who are interested in privatizing education for the benefit of wealthy families.
  • Giving parents other options creates competition and strengthens traditional public schools.
  • The vest majority of American and Texas children are educated through public schools. Charter schools are a threat to traditional ISDs by removing funds from public schools and thus hurting millions of students.
  • Not all students learn the same way, so parents should choose charters, private schools and homeschools.

    • We agree that every child is unique. That’s why we offer programs and courses designed for all the different giftings a student may have.

  • School choice improves outcomes for economically disadvantaged or poor students.

    • There is simply no definitive research to support that students in charter schools perform better than their public school peers. And, groups including the NAACP argue that charter schools promote segregation and threaten to defund public schools.

  • Parents don’t have a “voice” in traditional public schools.

    • We are nothing without the support and feedback from our student’s families. Not only do parents reserve the right to run for a School Board seat, but they can vote for those individuals who they feel will best advocate for MISD students.

 

As you can see, these statements are simply not true. And while we believe that families should have options when it comes to their educational experiences, we believe that traditional ISDs have the ability to provide anything a child may want or need.

Traditional neighborhood public schools educate all children, no matter their background, family income, special needs, ability to pay for their lunch or transportation. We believe that public education “enables every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom,” as U.S. Founding Father and education advocate Thomas Jefferson did.

 

Our goal is to provide something special for every child. Find that something at one of our 47 campuses.