With Labor Day just around the corner, children and parents alike are preparing for the upcoming school year. While children are concerned with choices of backpacks and lunchboxes, parents face more complex education decisions.

Parents’ investment of time, attention and presence are critical to a child’s success, The Heritage Foundation’s Collette Caprara explains. But many parents are unable to make another important decision: where to send their child to school.

For many children in the United States, a good education depends largely on the school they attend. In most states, that depends on where the child lives. This limits school choice to those parents who can afford to move to a better school district or pay private school tuition. A lack of choice explains the low achievement in a majority of K-12 schools.

A recent Heritage report offers some hope that things are changing:

But there is good news: Underperformance in K–12 schools has galvanized some state and local leaders to give parents options other than their child’s zip code–designated school… As a result, school choice programs have been a welcome solution for parents in states that have enacted school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, and online learning alternatives. These options have given thousands of children the chance for a brighter future, particularly among low-income families.

School choice allows parents to have more involvement and control over their child’s education, which as research shows positively impacts academic achievement.  Expanding school choice has the potential to empower parents to give their children a better education and a better future.

Do you think school choice would expand the educational opportunities available for children in your state?

Comments (23)

Jan Henderson - August 22, 2013

I strongly agree that parents should be able to choose where their children get an education without fear of their children being punished by the government. There is too much government already and more and more of our constitutional rights are being stripped from us by the liberals. I believe most parents can make adequate decisions about their child’s education.

Raymond Falk - August 22, 2013

Of course it would. Today in Rochester, NY we have some excellent city schools and everyone wants to go there, but Instead of rewarding hard work by allowing the student with the best grades to go there, it is decided by lottery. You can’t earn your way in by CHOOSING to working harder.

Raymond Falk - August 22, 2013

Of course it would. today in Rochester, NY we have some excellent city schools and everyone wants to go there, but instead of rewarding hard work by allowing the students with the best grades to go there, it is decided by lottery. You can’t earn your way in by CHOOSING TO WORK HARDER.

Glenda Philippe - August 22, 2013

Absolutely – I saw teachers in Chicago blaming the rich white for the students problems. Let’s have charter schools for kids. They are very successful in New Orleans. Let’s get kids away from public schools.

Joanne - August 23, 2013

School choice would encourage healthy competition.

maggie kiefer - August 23, 2013

No! Good teachers will. Moving the problem around is not going to fix the problem. Teachers with their own liberal agenda only add to the problem, and maybe that is a reflection of ideals or lack of them in each district.

Donna Varesi - August 23, 2013

Absolutely and with school choice the curriculum in each school will not be watered down. As a parent of two successful sons, successful in character as well as careers, parents’ involvement is essential for a child’s success along with a school in which the curriculum “challenges” students. Kids love to learn.

Paula - August 23, 2013

Young parents should reject government schools unless they are offered full choices. Even with that, they are still stuck in a government school. Home school networks with like-minded parents are an excellent solution. It affords parents to customize curriculum, make much better use of their student’s time, and also organize activity networks as well. Our private school’s prize Latin teacher retired and has since been hired by numerous home school networks–winning all of the State Latin competitions, beating the largest and supposedly best schools in the city–public, private, and parochial. Parents, take control of your child’s education!

William Benton - August 23, 2013

I am for more freedom. It would encourage those who
wont to learn. Some think they know all they need.

Gwen Coleman - August 23, 2013

Absolutely! Anytime the people have choices the country advances.

Judith Rousseau - August 23, 2013

The government run ?educcational system? has been almost a complete failure. I am appalled when I see many students arrive at college unable to read, write, or comprehend that they might fail. my personal experience was moving to a new high school as a senior, being place in a college prep English class with a teacher recalled from retirement to fill in. She was shocked to learn these students could not spell or write grammatical sentences. I had come from a school whose goal was better preparation. We spent our senior year trying to prepare these students for college. this was in 1962, and education has gone down hill from there.

Nedra Angell - August 23, 2013

I believe “we” should go even further than school choice.
I believe that “we” should immediately begin planning to dissolve and eliminate the federal/national department of education and return power and authority to the States.
I believe a move like this would gradually bring results of educating children back up out of the pit it’s in. The people we elect representatives and senators do not know any more than our people in the states about educating children. Dollars would be put to more efficient use. Parent involvement would be greatly encouraged and improved.
A look back at history, true history, shows that our national government is not effective at “hands-on” management of its citizens lives.

David Schwarz - August 23, 2013

Absolutely. This gives those who want to learn and those whose parents want them to learn to be able to learn without the interference of the Federal Government and its “programs” and “agendas” which are apart from education. The data show conclusively that we are are failing as we stand now.

Richard Saville - August 23, 2013

That what we pay taxes for better schools and education for our children.

Jim Hauck - August 23, 2013

Charter Schools would improve student grades by leaps and bounds.more people are believing every day but not enough momentum yet but it’s gaining!

Christine Dwyer - August 23, 2013

The government may be assigned the task of insuring K-12 education, but where does it say they provide the schools? It could be interpreted that funds be provided that follow the student to the educational facility chosen by the parents.

Michael Hornung - August 25, 2013

We have tried both ways with our now 12 year old. For fifth grade we enrolled the child in a very well meaning public school. Over the year I watched the kid’s attention slip becasue she was in an enviroment where “Meeting expectations” was the goal (average) and “Exceeds expectations” was “okay”. In fact the school did NOT have an honors program at all. All kids were being taught to be part of the norm was good along with mediocrity.
After debate my wife and I decided that we will SACRIFICE our lifestyle to afford a private school education. Gone are the vacations, extras in the household, a new vehicle or major purchase put off for a few years…
Now in 7th grade the child is surrounded by achievers who all want to excel with A’s and B’s. Not the 1-2-3 grading system to be part of the crowd or a government stat as a public school. A huge difference is what we experienced in three years. In the public schools there are great teachers but their hands are tied what they allowed to do. Most public teachers I have seen, it is a job to them. The private school teacher has a passion of learning. Our sacrifice has been worth it so far. Accewptance into the Beta Club is the new norm.

John Clancy - August 25, 2013

School choice is fundamental in a free society. This choice is particularly right for low income parents, but all parents should be free to choose the best school for their children. The federal government should have no place in education, and the state should nurture local control.
Milton Friedman and his wife have promoted choice for the last 20 years or so and their work is finally taking root.
Let’s keep the liberals away from this movement.

Jan - August 26, 2013

The deterioration of our public school system is deplorable. Discipline has disappeared and mediocre performance is considered to be excellent. Ideology, rather than education appears to be the primary focus. Children simply cannot learn in an environment such as this.

School choice, charter schools or home-schooling would clearly improve our educational system. Our federal government should withdraw, and the individual states should choose the curriculum and the teachers for their schools. Ideological and moral values should be removed from the curriculum and should be taught at home.

Most of the states have adopted the Common Core curriculum at the urging of the federal government. Common Core currently mandates that Kindergarten children be taught about homosexuality, and are encouraged to accept this as natural. In older years, Common Core actually encourages experimentation with homosexuality and transgender issues. Children are also taught that some families are poor and that this is the fault of the wealthier families. Many American History books in the schools are very different from what I was taught, and portray the US in a very negative light who is at fault for many of the ills in the world..

Without a major change in our nation’s educational system, I dread the day when our current graduates run the country. Many are functionally illiterate, and cannot perform basic math functions such as making change for a purchase.

We chose to move our son, who was academically gifted, (but failing in school and lacking in discipline) from the public school system to a private military boarding school after his freshman year. The change in his grades and attitude was remarkable. Despite the financial strain, it was well worth it, for he graduated with honors.

However, I recognize that not all parents have the resources to make this change, so I strongly support school choice, charter schools, and home-schooling. In addition, I believe it is essential for control of the schools to return to the states.

Stone Washington - August 28, 2013

I wholly support this initiative for kids to choose their school. I grew up during my elementary years having my parents fight for me to remain at my elementary school when my parents moved around away from the school. And I am forever grateful to have attended my chosen school!

Holly Chapo - August 31, 2013

School choice, absolutely! If we as a people value education, then school choice is essential – especially if the curriculum is more traditional and pro-America, pro the Constitution and pro learning American history that is real and not revisionist.

tom - March 24, 2015

cool

P. Kathy Kleiman - July 10, 2015

I used to stop into my daughter’s classes at odd times of the day, each one of them on different days and just ask the teacher if she didn’t mind me staying and “seeing how my daughter was being educated.” You have that right, ya know. The one thing I did have changed was that the reading class was on the stage right next to the cafeteria where they made so much noise, it detracted from the reading class. So they moved the reading class into the library. She soon left that school. I was very wary about what my daughter was being taught. I have to admit, she was in a great High School in an upper ranching community.

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