School choice describes programs that allow students to choose to attend any of various participating private and public schools, usually based on a system of vouchers, tax credits, or scholarships. These programs are generally intended to give parents more input in which primary and secondary schools their children attend. In the United States, school choice sometimes refers to the social movement instrumental in promoting these programs. The goal of school choice is to create competition between schools for education dollars, which may give public schools an incentive to perform better than without competition. However, opponents have argued that the free-market theory does not work in the educational realm, and that allowing school choice will hurt more students than it helps. School choice in America comes in a few different forms. The different options could ...view middle of the document...
The choice of schools would be analogous to the choice of food products in a supermarket, only limited by physical constraints and not government budgets. Supporters also argue that having a greater number of schools from which students can choose would reduce overcrowding and allow students to attend schools that best meet their learning styles and needs.
Opponents argue that many parents in impoverished areas might be unable to make informed decisions, and that certain types of parents are more likely to flee neighborhood schools, reinforcing social-class inequality. School choice in the form of vouchers could result in nothing more than a cash-handout for many middle-class and wealthy families already sending their kids to private schools, with poorer families either unable to secure enrollment or unable to cover costs in addition to the vouchers.
Many critics propose a different solution that does not take away money or force schools to struggle against each other. They say if incentive is what is needed, it already exists: the school board is elected by direct popular vote. They say that instead of government forcing school choice, citizens and parents need to become more aware of who runs the schools, and for laws to help improve that awareness. Any head of the school board who values their position will likely do everything possible to ensure the school runs better, if citizens are more active in deciding who stays or goes. Supporters of school choice sometimes say that even if the school board were perfect, one school, generally, cannot educate the myriad of different students any more than one company could meet the needs of all consumers. Supporters also say that this "solution" has always existed, yet has failed to fix America's failing schools. This, they say, proves that there needs to be another solution.