PEFNC intern Grace McDermott discusses an issue that may not be too familiar to many college students in the Daily Tar Heel: parental school choice. McDermott looks at the various options that many students had when choosing their university, but questions why K-12 students often do not have the same options of choice available. Read the op-ed below.
As college students, we all underwent a long process to select exactly the right university for our educational needs.
Aside from cost, we considered many factors, including location, average class size, school reputation, quality of academics, campus safety, academic specialty and extracurricular opportunities.
How many of us would have willingly chosen to attend a college notorious for its dangerous campus, low academic standards or shortage of qualified professors? I don’t think anyone with other options would choose this type of academic environment.
However, many K-12 students in the traditional public school system don’t have such a choice.
With a funding model partially based on property taxes, our public school system has created a network of schools across the country that differ immensely in terms of resources, teacher quality, safety and student achievement.
By advocating for a public education system that offers more parental school choice to all students — regardless of socioeconomic status — we can begin to address this fundamental inequality in our education system. These systems might include open-enrollment policies at public schools or a network of highly accountable charter schools.
Parental school choice programs are sometimes controversial, but the concept behind them is not a new one.
Families with sufficient financial means have always been able to manage their children’s schooling options by choosing to live in certain neighborhoods or enrolling their children in private schools. A well-designed system with more quality school options will hopefully expand these opportunities to all students, regardless of income or address.
Read more here.