It’s official. We now know that school choice as a solution to our educational challenge is a complete failure.
We start with a school district with the twin circumstances of poverty and segregation, the main ingredients that create the breakdown of educational success. Then, rather than find an effective solution to resolve the education challenges, we give parents the opportunity to pull their children out of that school district. The end result, as we have seen, is that some of the students leave, those whose parents have the necessary resources. And when those students leave, the foundation allowance leaves with them. Funding declines.
Of course, the original school remains. But now the school has lost the necessary finances to operate effectively, let alone resolve the issue of educating students who live in the most difficult situation to succeed educationally. The students with the most resources are now gone; those with the least resources, the students facing the greatest challenges, remain. The money to lower class sizes, provide art, music, libraries and P.E. classes is now diminished.
Now, instead of resolving the initial issues, the downhill trajectory steepens. More students leave. Test scores decline further. The cycle of failure steps up.
That is what using schools of choice as a solution has brought us.
It is a failure.
Studies show us clearly the effective solutions: lower class sizes, provide longer school days, longer school years, after school programs, and summer programs. Assure all students receive the support they need through effective and comprehensive mentorship programs.
These are proven effective solutions. They are expensive, but remember.
We get what we pay for.