National School Choice week: 49 million students still without options

Here is an op-ed column by Robert Enlow, the president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the legacy foundation of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose. His piece highlights National School Choice week, which kicks off on Sunday, Jan 27.

Enlow addresses the growing choice landscape, including Georgia’s private school tax credit.

By Robert Enlow

Heidi and Frank Green used to worry about their daughters while they were at school. The Clarksville, Indiana couple was concerned about bullying, cursing, large class sizes, a revolving teaching staff, and a general lack of attention for students.

Thankfully, the Greens say their lives have changed for the better as daughters Gillian and Emma are now eager to attend school. Today they are getting quality instruction at their new Catholic school thanks to a voucher program adopted in Indiana two years ago.

“School choice should be everywhere,” said Mrs. Green. “Parents should be able to decide what’s best for their kids.

Gillian and Emma are among the 255,000 students nationwide who attend a private school of their family’s choice using vouchers or tax-credit scholarships. Another 2 million students utilize public charter schools as their preferred option.

But there are still more than 49 million public school students throughout the country who do not have such freedom. They must attend their neighborhood public school regardless of its safety, quality, class sizes, teaching staff, or other issues outside their parents’ control. But such restriction doesn’t have to be the case.

Sunday will mark the beginning of the third annual National School Choice Week, which runs through Feb. 2. There will be 3,000 events across 50 states including rallies and forums where parents will ask lawmakers for more choices for their kids.

National School Choice Week highlights the private, charter, online and home school education options available to families and those stuck with a school assigned to them by their address. Parents can choose public or private colleges for their children using many federal and state aid programs. They should be able to do the same with K-12 schools.

After major school choice victories last fall in which Washington voters agreed to allow charter schools to open in the state and Georgia voters agreed to an easier path to create more charters, a host of other states will consider additional school choice measures in 2013. Among the highlights:

· Georgia lawmakers will consider expanding a tuition tax credit program that allows tax credits for donations to scholarship organizations who offer scholarships to students to attend private schools.

· Tennessee’s governor will include a school voucher program in his legislative package.

· The Texas legislature will consider a program in which taxpayers would receive tax credits for donations they make to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships for low-income students.

· Mississippi’s governor proposed a private school choice program for students in underperforming public schools.

· North Carolina’s lawmakers will review proposals for opportunity scholarships and quite possibly education savings accounts, a new type of private school choice available only in Arizona.

· Alaska lawmakers will vote on a school voucher plan for all students statewide regardless of their family income.

· Indiana’s new governor has proposed expanding its voucher program to increase scholarship amounts and student eligibility.

· Maine lawmakers will hear a proposal from their governor to give children school vouchers.

Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman, the father of the school choice concept, believed that offering parents education options other than their neighborhood school would not only be good for children but would improve education. Studies show school choice is helping children in their new schools and those who didn’t participate – something vitally important when so many children don’t get a quality education.

The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University found that high school dropouts are more dependent on government assistance such as food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid. They are also more likely to be in jail or prison, another cost to federal, state, and local taxpayers. And unemployment rates are highest among dropouts, according to the study.

If our society is to address its burgeoning debt problem and give young people a chance to become successful, offering parents an opportunity to access high-quality schools is a path to prosperity for themselves, their children, and society.

In several states, policymakers are ensuring more students have access to the schools, public or private, that work best for them. National School Choice Week is the time to shine a spotlight on those leaders and anyone else working to make sure every family is free to choose in education.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

56 comments Add your comment

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
10:41 am

AGAIN. Imagine Medicare/Medicaid if recipients were obligated to utilize the hospital closest to their homes. Imagine the stories about patients stuck in lousy hospitals, people buying houses in neighborhoods served by good hospitals, poor/mismatched care by hospitals ill-suited to meet the specialized needs of certain patients.

NO ONE would accept this for our taxpayer-funded, public health care for the elderly or indigent. Elementary, middle and high school students should not be stuck attending the school closest to their homes. The money that is provided by taxpayers for their education should follow them to the school their parents choose.

Aquagirl

January 21st, 2013
10:42 am

rallies and forums where parents will ask lawmakers for more choices for their kids.

“More choices?” Why are they afraid to use the correct term—”welfare?”

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
11:01 am

School vouchers are “welfare” to the exact same extent that free public schools are “welfare”, no more and no less.

Food stamps, EBT card, or soup kitchen – it still comes down to sustenance provided by others.

indigo

January 21st, 2013
11:43 am

We have a Government run high quality Military.

Our public school system should have the same high quality Nationwide.

I suspect there’s a long list of public officials who have dropped the ball on this.

Why this is I do not know.

concerned

January 21st, 2013
11:43 am

“The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University found that high school dropouts are more dependent on government assistance such as food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid. They are also more likely to be in jail or prison, another cost to federal, state, and local taxpayers. And unemployment rates are highest among dropouts, according to the study.”

I’m tired of hearing how schools are failing children. Teachers and administration do NOT want students to drop out. They do NOT advocate dropping out. In fact they do everything in their power to keep students in school. PARENTS allow their children to drop out. PARENTS have the power to ensure their child stays in school. PARENTS can find ways to keep their child in school. Schools aren’t failing children, parents are.

Every day PARENTS keep students out of school for one reason or another. PARENTS do NOT show up for scheduled meetings. PARENTS do not take the time to talk to their children and work with them on school projects. The first line of educating a child begins and ends with parents.

When parents get off the welfare “lifestyle” their children will too. In my community welfare, and all that goes with it, is a lifestyle. Teachers and administration can NOT control what goes on at home and can NOT control the welfare “lifestyle” parents have chosen. Until parents become responsible for their children nothing in education will change.

Aquagirl

January 21st, 2013
11:58 am

School vouchers are “welfare” to the exact same extent that free public schools are “welfare”, no more and no less.

No, because with vouchers the taxpayer has no say in how their money is spent. Free public schools are run by school boards and various elected/appointed officials. When parents use vouchers, they are taking the entire portion of the public taxpayer’s money and spending it with absolutely no input from those taxpayers.

If someone is spending a portion of my tax dollars using an EBT card they have to accept the restrictions. I think that’s part of the resistance against vouchers.

Public education is like fire or police services—all taxpayers have an interest in police and fire protection, so everyone pays for the public service. If you don’t like what’s available you can pay more for your own choice, but you don’t get to take other people’s money and spend it on your personal preference.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
12:29 pm

“No, because with vouchers the taxpayer has no say in how their money is spent”

Actually you could make the case the taxpayer has more say in how the money is being spent. After all, do you really think you have a say in how the education monolith spends your money, as a matter of practical consideration?

Maybe the empty nester has minimal influence with his vote, but the one using the voucher can actually bring the free market into play. And do you think an empty nester would really begrudge some lucky child escaping from The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence?

10:10 am

January 21st, 2013
12:38 pm

Not long after parents are finally free to send their children to the school of their choice, people will marvel at the time and resources—now squandered prolonging monopoly control of K-12 education.

And limiting parental choice to wealthy people like the Clintons and Obamas.

Aquagirl

January 21st, 2013
12:40 pm

Maybe the empty nester has minimal influence with his vote, but the one using the voucher can actually bring the free market into play.

If you love the free market, go worship it, what does that have to do with taxpayer subsidies?

I certainly agree our education system doesn’t work in places and that parents, taxpayers, and everyone except the grafters is unhappy. That’s an argument to re-structure and change the system.

If your idea of change is “let a small group of people re-distribute tax dollars with no oversight” well—that’s exactly how the current system works. The only change you’re making is removing any remaining power from voters.

wilbur

January 21st, 2013
12:42 pm

And which of the public school advocates actually supports TAXPAYERS having a voice in public school? That was a joke, right?

Taxpayers are just sheep to be sheared for the educrats.

RCB

January 21st, 2013
12:48 pm

I’m an empty nester, and I begrudge NO child who manages to escape Dekalb County schools. As I’ve seen my property taxes continue to rise, I’ve watched our school system continue to rot. We elected someone new from my district, but I’m reserving judgment.

jarvis

January 21st, 2013
1:05 pm

Your local school is out of your control? We live in serfdom now? We are told which plot of land we must live on and farm?

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
1:17 pm

“If you love the free market, go worship it, what does that have to do with taxpayer subsidies?”

When government schools buy paper, buy copying machines, buy file cabinets…do they go to the “government warehouse” or do they go to the free market? This idea that the public schools are in complete isolation from the free market just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

“If your idea of change is “let a small group of people re-distribute tax dollars with no oversight” well—that’s exactly how the current system works. The only change you’re making is removing any remaining power from voters.”

Yes we may very well get the Sarah Palin Science Academy where “students use maps of ancient Babylon, maps created in painstakingly accurate detail by cavemen riding pterodactyls in order to get an aerial view…”

But at this point I think we’d be better off with actual Somali pirates controlling the purse strings, when you see what the education monolith has wrought.

Aquagirl

January 21st, 2013
1:19 pm

Your local school is out of your control?

That’s what people think nowadays when their individual vote doesn’t determine the entire election. If their candidate loses they’re being repressed by a fascist dictatorship.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
1:20 pm

“Your local school is out of your control?”

Yes Jarvis for all practical purposes your local school is completely out of your control.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
1:25 pm

Let’s be real, no matter how “galvanized” you are in the local community you have a next to zero chance of having your local school escape the clutches of monstrosities like NCLB and RTTT.

With whatever downside vouchers would have, they would at least give a parent an opportunity to use their taxpayer funds to avoid RTTT and all the collateral damage that goes with it.

jarvis

January 21st, 2013
1:29 pm

@Beverly, It was impractical for me to move to an area with better schools than where I was. Interesting perscpective.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
1:36 pm

Well Jarvis, to piggyback on the “serfdom” comment, some may say we are in “educational serfdom” because you are indeed told which school to go to based strictly on the plot of land you inhabit.

And if you can’t afford the proper plot of land…and there are people who could scrimp and save and use vouchers to go to the same schools that parents with $500,000 houses go to much easier than they could ever afford to move into the house with the $500,000 neighborhood.

Yes there are some downsides, a veritable Deal with the Devil™ as it were, but something is to be said for breaking the monolith.

Aquagirl

January 21st, 2013
1:44 pm

So here’s Beverly’s thinking:

Parents stupidly and ineffectively elected people who are mere pawns of the Alphabet People. So we should hand those parents money directly. This will somehow magically transform those stupid and ineffective parents into smart, discerning folk.

These newly changed parents will then hand the entire pot of money to people completely impervious to greed. And we all live happily ever after!
(Except parents who can’t find a school for the amount of vouchers, parents who can’t find a school they like period, children stuck in schools drained of dollars, children in schools controlled by greedy NCLB and RTTT people who jumped to follow the dollars, or taxpayers who think they should have a say in how their tax dollars are spent.)

Um, yeah. If you can sell this plan it certainly speaks to our deficiency in turning out intelligent voters.

Hermione

January 21st, 2013
1:48 pm

Here is an article about Georgia’s voucher program in yesterday’s NY Times. Maureen, you may want to start a new blog topic about their statement that “according to a report issued this month by the Southern Education Foundation…as many as a third of the schools in the scholarship program have strict antigay policies or adhere to a religious philosophy that holds homosexuality as immoral or a sin.” Check out the article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/education/georgia-backed-scholarships-benefit-schools-barring-gays.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Chas Hawk

January 21st, 2013
1:53 pm

” they would at least give a parent an opportunity to use their taxpayer funds” But what gives them the right to use MY taxpayer funds? Since only half the state budget goes to education, one would have to have a pretty big income to pay enough in taxes to support one child’s vocher (let alone all their kids). So, they are using some of my money. I want my property taxes to make my community better (and raise my house value) so I want it spent on local schools, libraies, parks, fire protection, etc. Not to send your kids to fancy private schools.
Since a big problem with education is attendance. if you take my money to go to school – you must reimburse us if your child misses school ($40 a day seems fair). If you attend every day, your chances of doing well increase.
How about if your child gets expelled after using a vocher? Is the money returned to the state? Now who gets the $$ to educate your child? Or do the public schools just have to do it for free?

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
2:08 pm

@Aquagirl,
You are certainly welcome to share your thoughts and opinions.

However, with respect to “So here’s Beverly’s thinking:”, please refrain from constructing arguments that are so ill-formed, tendentious, and stupid that calling them ’straw men’ would constitute to defaming straw, and then attributing said lines of reasoning to those who disagree with you.

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
2:09 pm

awww, “constitute to” shoulda just been “constitute”

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
2:21 pm

@Hermione,
That’s not all! I hear people are taking tax deductions for making contributions to CHURCHES that “adhere to a religious philosophy that holds homosexuality as immoral or a sin.”! We need an expose on that as well.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
2:41 pm

So here’s Beverly’s thinking:

Parents stupidly and ineffectively elected people who are mere pawns of the Alphabet People. So we should hand those parents money directly. This will somehow magically transform those stupid and ineffective parents into smart, discerning folk.

Nope Not under any such illusion. The stupid will still be the stupid. After all we still have people on this very blog who see no problem with education officials honoring Beverly Hall.

But, vouchers would, whatever their downside, allow the not so stupid to seek out schools not ruled by stupid. (Again you seem to ignore the fact that I readily acknowledge the downside)

And yes that downside allows the highly motivated stupid to use funds to send their children to stupid schools. But at least they had a choice in the matter.

Beverly Fraud

January 21st, 2013
2:52 pm

I do mention “downsides” to vouchers, but let’s be clear:

Just because a school has students study geography using aerial maps drawn in “painstakingly accurate detail by cavemen riding pterodactyls,” sings “Onward Christian Soldiers” in music, studies the intricacies of nuclear warheads in science and makes “Welcome to Armageddon” banners in graphic arts doesn’t mean it’s a school we should have any qualms about giving vouchers to.

In fact we should praise them for “integrating curriculum” should we not?

jarvis

January 21st, 2013
3:29 pm

@Beverly, I actually have no problem with the voucher idea, but you must admit that one of the things that makes private school achievment better is their ability to limit enrollment to families and children they believe will succeeed.

Charles Douglas Edwards

January 21st, 2013
3:55 pm

The State of Georgia needs to give EVERY child the best education possible !!!

Our youth are our future and one of our greatest assets.

The future progress of our beautiful state depends on an educated people.

Peg

January 21st, 2013
4:04 pm

Some choice! Students w/special needs and ELLs quickly find themselves “unchosen.” More like a giveaway of tax dollars to private corporations with no accountability to an elected school board. We need quality public education for all. It can be done if we stop robbing public school of funding, demoralizing teachers, and testing students into oblivion.

AlreadySheared

January 21st, 2013
4:38 pm

In the interests of compromise, “half” is a word. Let public schools remain the default option. Let 1/2 of the money allocated to educating a student remain with the school system he is zoned for, and let the other half follow the student to where his parents want him to go.

Cruddy schools that no one wants to go to will get richer on a per-pupil basis because of the halves left behind. Eventually, their funding advantage will be big enough to make them attractive options for those who remain. Meanwhile, the tuition load will be lightened considerably for those who choose other options.

Once Again

January 21st, 2013
5:06 pm

Indigo says “We have a Government run high quality Military.” I guess that’s why we have more suicides than combat fatalities among soldiers. I guess that’s why more senior personnel get kicked out for rape, sodomy, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, etc. than any other reason. I guess that’s why 1 in 4 female soldiers REPORT having been sexually assaulted during their service (and you can imagine its way more like 3 in 4 considering how many don’t report. Murders, assaults, beatings, rape, and then the gross incompetence, etc.

Actually, we do already have government schools that are as good as the military. This is about the best you CAN expect from a government, top-down bureaucratic system that has absolutely NO accountability to the marketplace.

Sadly, the vision of vouchers is also wrongheaded as all it does it perpetuate the immoral funding mechanism (theft through taxation) and will further embed the failed/criminal government in the private sector, thus ultimately destroying the only real functional alternative left aside from the best – homeschooling.

Astropig

January 21st, 2013
5:10 pm

I think that it is appropriate that this piece runs on MLK Day.His ideas and actions were once opposed by comfortable,powerful defenders of the status quo. But when he made the moral case that bigotry and discrimination was wrong and unjust…Well, here we are today with a paid holiday.

Same for school choice. An immoral,comfortable (and in some cases corrupt) caste of educrats are almost violently opposed to letting every parent have the same choice in education that their president has. And lots of people (and a surprising number on this board today) feel that that is wrong. So, if you are reading this in the year 2063 (50 years from now) , I just want you to know that there were people in the ‘aught teens that had the moral courage to stand up to the education cartel and brought the change that you enjoy in your time.

bootney farnsworth

January 21st, 2013
5:38 pm

the delusions of greatness some have ….

bootney farnsworth

January 21st, 2013
5:40 pm

@ Beverly,

I’ve grown tired of this battle. if they want charters, vouchers, whatever….let them.
its time for us to walk away from this and let the children run the classroom for awhile.

bootney farnsworth

January 21st, 2013
5:41 pm

“certainly speaks to our deficiency in turning out intelligent voters”

hell, the election of Obama does that.

Status Quo Warriors

January 21st, 2013
6:34 pm

I am amazed to still see people defend the status quo, or the idea that the education system just needs a few tweaks. It is a monolith existing for the sole purpose to perpetuate itself.

School Choice has always been the key to beginning the sea change.

For those that are kicking and screaming on the way down…..you brought it on yourself with the failure to identify a reasonable solution to the issue facing Heidi and Frank Green in the article above.

Tony

January 21st, 2013
7:35 pm

The headline today gives an excellent example of how to spin the numbers to give a very misleading scenario. Every single family in the United States has a choice about schooling. Everyone of them. The fact that vouchers and charter schools are not everywhere does not negate the other choices each and every citizen of our nation has when it comes to their educational options.

d

January 21st, 2013
8:17 pm

People are already free to send children to whatever school they want. Why do legislators keep asking to take money away from traditional schools and continue to add more and more regulations to them? Why not give every school the freedom of a charter? Why not look at options for fixing what is broke in our traditional public schools…. but of course, that would mean the General Assembly would actually have to trust the educators in this state.

Once Again

January 21st, 2013
10:03 pm

AlreadySheared – Outstanding comment.

Its funny how so many suggest that everyone has a choice to not attend a government run school, but none of these folks will allow a parent to simply keep the money they otherwise would have paid in taxes to fund that failed school system.

While parents generally pay WAY less than the cost of their child’s education (and pathetically little if they have multiple children), even this token amount is not allowed to slip through the sticky fingers of the greedy government theft beneficiaries.

Just shut down the government schools completely, allow the free market a REAL opportunity to thrive and provide real choice at all cost levels and then see just how great education in this country can be. People who support the government system I think are not half as afraid of what a reduction in funding caused by vouchers, or refunds to parents would bring as they are of just how successful the alternatives would be at providing a great education to so many more than this current disaster does.

Dr. Monica Henson

January 21st, 2013
10:20 pm

concerned posted, “Teachers and administration do NOT want students to drop out. They do NOT advocate dropping out. In fact they do everything in their power to keep students in school.”

Not always true. I can introduce you to a 17-year-old mother now attending my charter high school who was called into the principal’s office and told behind closed doors that she didn’t need to return after her baby was born.

As a teacher and principal, I witnessed school personnel tell students to their faces that they didn’t belong there, they weren’t wanted there, get out and go check themselves into the local jail, etc., etc. That’s one of the many reasons why I no longer work inside the district world.

For every teacher and administrator who bends over backwards to help troubled children stay in their district high school, there are at least as many who, if not openly discouraging kids and making them feel unwelcome, are silently hoping for them to quit school.

DeborahinAthens

January 22nd, 2013
6:37 am

Vouchers will not work for poor people who cannot make up the difference between the cost of private school and what they get in vouchers. This system is a way to achieve the Right Wing agenda of destroying public education. The cost of vouchers will suck the scarce resources from our public schools, making them worse. The upper middle classes and the well to do will get government assistance to pay for schools they are already using and the lower middle classes and poor students will fall further and further down the ladder. Why can we not do what Finland does? Why can’t we, the most powerful nation in the world give every child a stellar education? By the way, if those parents of Gillian and Emma think their precious girls are not going to be bullied in Catholic school, they are seriously deluded. Catholic bullies are the best bullies in the world!

catlady

January 22nd, 2013
6:54 am

Indigo: Unlike the military, the public schools cannot pick only the fittest volunteers. They work with a larger percentage of “draftees” and have to make successful any educationally “handicapped” person who is dragged through the door.

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:09 am

this whole premise is flawed from conception. parents already do have choice, they just don’t in this case have the choice this advocate prefers.

-private school
-home school
-refuse to send to school (yes, you can do that if you really wish)
-relocate
-tutors
-BEING INVOLVED

but none of those fit the agenda/

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:10 am

@ deborahinathens

you might wish to work out your personal issues in a less public setting.

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:11 am

what is it about Finland the lemmings love so much?

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:16 am

@ catlady,

which is why I advocate for school to become optional after elementary. lets be honest. a fair amount of the kids which disrupt the systems don’t want to be there, and have parents who don’t care.

by granting them their wish to not have to attend, we do two things: broom the problems out the door and create a better environment for those who wish to learn.

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:20 am

@ once again,

how – in specific nuts and bolts detail – is your free market going solution going to work?
details, not slogans.

I’m specifically interested in hearing how to prevent an Enron style fraud or a Georgia natural gas
deregulation fiasco (prices soared when promised they would go down).

bootney farnsworth

January 22nd, 2013
7:46 am

Finland vs US

population:
Fin: 5.4 million (most sparsely populated country in the European Union)
US: 315,198,000

land mass:
Fin: 130,596 sq mi
US: 3,794,101 sq mi

GDP per capita:
Fin: $49,349
US: $48,386

Ethnic breakdown:
Fin: no official stats exist. unofficially, white 99%, other 1% (source: Encyclopedia of the Nations)
US: white 72%, other 28%
-not including differences within individual communities

so can we put this stupid Finland is wonderful crap to bed?

What's Really Going On

January 22nd, 2013
9:06 am

When talking about choice, the immediate assumption is that that can only mean charters, vouchers, and parents opting to home school. What about choice within traditional public school districts! It looks like Boston has a model that supports this – http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/assignment. I get that providing choice on this scale may be uncomfortable for some, particularly those few within some school districts who happen to be 100% happy with their child’s school. However, I would love to see a spirited debate about more material choice options (above and beyond HB251) in the larger districts. One aspect of haviong choices that I think gets overlooked is the fact that people, when given a choice, will naturally tend to be more supportive of a choice they have made (vs. someone making it for them).

Take something as simple as trying to decide what smartphone, or tablet PC you want to purchase. Most will research the various option for features, costs, talking to friends, and possibly by going to a brick and mortar store to talk to salespeople that should be knowledgeable of the various products. Ultimately, the consumer makes the final decision, and although they are keenly aware of the pros-and-cons of their choice, they are generally satisfied with their choice. Imagine that same scenario playing out in education. Putting the power of choice in the hands of parents, even the reluctant ones who might not be engaged otherwise is a powerful notion. Is it not possible that this might, as a side effect, result in more support of traditional public schools by parents? I am not going to say all, because inevitably not everyone is going to end up with their 1st choice school. There are some charters that have been closed due to them not meeting academic achievement targets, and in some cases the parents of the students in those schools fight tirelessly to lobby their Authorizer to keep the schools open. It’s as if the achievement of the school is immaterial in their minds. However, part of what I think happens is a situation where the parents are simply defending the selection they made for their child, and perhaps they take offense to “government” essentially telling them that you do not know what’s best for your child (by closing the school).

All of that said, I support choice for parents, and have personally made choices for my own children over the years that have spanned public, charter, and private, and I would like to see the traditional public schools (particularly large school districts like Fulton, Cobb, etc..) do much more to offer up choices to students. And as I said prior, HB251 is not sufficient.

For those of you who may fall prey to the rhetoric and immediately decry “choice” outright, please keep in mindl that there is limited “choice” in many public schools already. Consider magnet programs or magnet schools, for example, that you have to apply to get into. Even thought there is entry critera, those programs do in fact provide choces to some higher achieving students.

Another point is that I do not know if Mr. Enlow’s piece counts students from public schools that may exercise choice via enrollment in things like magnet programs, or the few that take advantage of legislation like HB251 and the like, but if it does not, there may be fewer than the reported 49million who are not exercising choice in some capacity.

The final thing I will say about choice, is that there seems to be an implication or inference that choice will lead to improved student achievement. in theory I can see that happening, particularly if a parent can better align their childs learning style, needs, and interests with a school that is better suited for them. However choice, in and of itsef is not the solution. We still need innovation and varied curricular approaches, school culture, school calendars, etc.. in the schools to truly say that we are offering choice. In other words, Henry Ford’s approach to cars where he said that one could have any color they wanted so long as it was black, need not apply where education is concerned. If public schools were to offer choice on a large scale, at the same time, they would need to think about how they would differentiate the various schools; else the effort would be a failure or do little to address the notion of parents having a choice.

Just Sayin.....

January 22nd, 2013
9:36 am

AGAIN. Imagine Medicare/Medicaid if recipients were obligated to utilize the hospital closest to their homes. Imagine the stories about patients stuck in lousy hospitals, people buying houses in neighborhoods served by good hospitals, poor/mismatched care by hospitals ill-suited to meet the specialized needs of certain patients.

NO ONE would accept this for our taxpayer-funded, public health care for the elderly or indigent.

Really? And what do you believe is going to happen when everyone wants to see the same doctor/specialist? In 2014, your heathcare is going to be determined by HHS and insurance companies. If they say “nearest hospital”, then that is how it is going to be. I fully expect these types of rulings as folks scramble to go to the “best” only to find out that there simply is not enough capacity at “the best”, and must settle for MUCH less.

I’ve said from the start: Obamacare is unfair. If you live in, say, Montana where the nearest doctor might be 50 miles and the nearest hospital 100 miles, you are not going to get the same care as if you live in a suburb of Boston. If you live in Atlanta, you won’t get the same care as if you lived in Boston. If you live in Waycross, you won’t get the same care as if you lived in Atlanta. Yet everyone will have to purchase heathcare… no matter the cost and no matter the quality of heathcare that you will get for your $$$. It really doesn’t matter what the people “will stand for”. It is already in the hands of bureaucrats. You lost, thinking you had a win, and you don’t even know it yet. The ONLY people who win are those 30 million people that had no healthcare insurance and now will move ahead of you in line to get theirs.