How Does "School Choice" Affect My Family & My Community?
What Is School Choice?
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 allowing parents to 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. 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.
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 inaccurate information about the public school districts that educate more than 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.
In fact, uS public schools are graduating a higher percentage of students and sending more students on to college than ever before. THE NARRATIVE THAT SCHOOLS ARE “FAILING” HAS BEEN FUELED BY ILL-INFORMED POLITICIANS WHO ARE often supported by entities INTERESTED IN PRIVATIZING EDUCATION and using tax dollars to fund private business endeavors.
- Giving parents other options creates competition and strengthens traditional public schools.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF AMERICAN AND TEXAS CHILDREN ARE EDUCATED THROUGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS. CHARTER SCHOOLS (a.K.A. for-profit public schools) take FUNDS FROM traditional PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND funnel those public tax dollars to private businesses for the ultimate purpose of making a profit. that is not to disparage educators who choose to serve students in charter schools or local religious institutions that offer an alternative education model built around certain beliefs. But the fact remains that many charters are operated by big business interests focused primarily on a profit margin.
- Not all students learn the same way. Charter schools offer services that can best meet the needs of some students.
WE AGREE THAT EVERY CHILD IS UNIQUE. THAT’S WHY WE OFFER PROGRAMS AND COURSES DESIGNED FOR ALL THE DIFFERENT GIFTS A STUDENT MAY HAVE. the facts show that most charters are far less effective than their public school counterparts, which is demonstrated by the fact that only 62% of students in Texas charter schools graduated on time in 2016.
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 reputable 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 STUDENTS’ FAMILIES. NOT ONLY DO PARENTS have THE RIGHT TO RUN FOR A SCHOOL BOARD SEAT, BUT THEY CAN VOTE FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO THEY FEEL WILL BEST ADVOCATE FOR Mesquite ISD STUDENTS.
- Public schools are merely “government schools,” full of inefficiencies and bureaucrats.
Our founding fathers saw the importance of educating every child in america and set up our system of public school specifically to empower our population. public schools are part of the fabric of american freedom.
According to Thomas Jefferson, "The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.” And the principal aim of a general education was “to enable every man to judge for himself that which will secure or endanger his freedom.”
It is no coincidence that america, the countrythat chooses to provide a free education for all its children, has the highest gross domestic product in the world. with more than 90% of children educated in public schools, it is because we have a system of public education that america is so successful – not in spite of it.
"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves."
- John Adams, 1785
Charter schools are not required to enroll every child who tries to enroll or continue to educate every child they do enroll. Traditional neighborhood public schools educate all children, no matter their background, family income, special needs, ability to pay for their lunch or their access to transportation.
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.
Mesquite ISD is currently developing a plan that will offer our high school students more opportunities through a system of career pathways they can choose to pursue. Watch for more details about the options in the coming months.
Our goal is to provide something special for every child. Find that something at one of our 47 campuses.