School Author: Susan Ansell

school choice is a reform movement focused on affording parents the right to choose which school their child attends.

Objectives

1.) Understanding what freedom of school choice means

2.) Form their own opinions regarding private school and public school choice

Public School Choice

  1. Gives parents the option of transferring their children out of lower-performing public schools to higher-performing public schools

Private School Choice

  1. Allows parents to use government-funded vouchers to send their children to private schools

Small Groups

Make a T-table of the pros and cons you and your group can think of about having the freedom of school choice

Pros

  1. Competition among schools
  2. Incentive to improve
  3. Better educational opportunities
  4. Increase of parent involvement

Cons

  1. Social-class inequality
  2. "Educational survival"
  3. Loss of financial support of failing schools
  4. Uncertainty

No Child Left Behind Act

The regulation states that parents with a child enrolled in a school identified as in need of improvement can transfer him or her to a better-performing public school or public charter school (2002).
Public school choice is gaining popularity at the state level. Education Week’s Quality Counts 2004 report found that 44 states (compared to 32 states the year before) had open-enrollment programs in place, and 40 states and the District of Columbia allowed charter schools.
It is the responsibility of ALL Americans to be committed to working towards educational freedom.
The Catholic community views the genuine freedom of choice in education as being consistent with the principles of justice and equality and are required to be recognized and made operative (USCCB, 1972, Para. 148).

Types of School Choice

  1. Intradistrict: Allows parents to select among schools within their home districts
  2. Interdistrict: Allows parents to select from schools not only in their home districts, but also schools across district lines
  3. Controlled: Requires families to choose a school within a community, but choices can be restricted so as to ensure the racial, gender, and socioeconomic balance of each school
  4. Magnet schools: Public schools that offer specialized programs, often deliberately designed and located so as to attract students to otherwise unpopular areas or schools
  5. Charter schools: Publicly sponsored schools that are substantially free of direct administrative control by the government, but are held accountable for achieving certain levels of student performance
  6. Vouchers: Federal funds that enable public school students to attend schools of their choice, public or private
To ensure legitimate freedom of choice in education for ALL people, the Catholic Bishops believe that, “special attention should be given to extending it to those in our country who suffer most from educational disadvantage" (USCCB, 1972, Para. 149).
The National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education (2003) suggests the need to shift the choice debate from whether choice is good or bad to how it can be employed effectively, through adequate funding and targeting of efforts.

Whip Around/Pass

  1. In your own words, what does it mean to have freedom of school choice?
  2. What are the four pros of having freedom of educational choice?
  3. As a future teacher, are you for or against parents having the freedom of school choice?
  4. Propose an idea on how to ensure fair school choice for all families regardless of economic-status.
  5. Of the six types of school choice, which (if any) have you experienced?

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