Principle: PRO-School Choice

School choice is gaining in popularity by those who truly want to improve the educational system for our children, and even PBS is beginning to see the light as our public school system continues to fail miserably. Andrew Coulson has created an important documentary shedding light on why our education “industry” has become stagnant, while in practically all other industries, quality has risen. Entrenched and special interests have selfish reasons to keep the current education status-quo, produce failing students while the cost of education skyrockets. Finally, those who have embraced the public school system in the past are now seeing the errors of a decaying institution and are seeking true solutions to getting our education system back on track, through innovative school choice actions and measures.

National Review – Paul Crookston – Your local PBS station might seem like an unlikely place to find a documentary critical of public education, but that is exactly what viewers get this week with the late Andrew Coulson’s new documentary School, Inc. The film doesn’t attack public schools. Rather, it asks why education has yet to behave like other industries have in the last 200 years or so — and why it has failed to achieve comparable gains. The three-part documentary airs around the country this week (each part has various time slots, so check your local listings here), and in it Coulson attempts to answer a narrow but important question: Why don’t education methods “scale up” to raise quality across the board, as has occurred in basically every other industry? School, Inc. approaches this simple question with a global perspective. One of the film’s key virtues, especially for education-policy non-enthusiasts, is that Coulson travels the world examining different schooling models. This turns think-tank expertise into good TV.

Read more at: School Inc. PBS Documentary Champions School Choice – National Review.

It’s the Federal Government vs. the States in the debate of “School Choice”. Opening education to a free market system, where the good schools are rewarded with more parents choosing to use their vouchers to send their children there. While the states continue to progress in promoting School Choice, the federal government, under Obama, continues to block voucher efforts to try to remain “the authority” when it comes to your child’s education. It’s your money, shouldn’t you decide what school to pay your child to go to?

Two decades ago, while George H.W. Bush was still president, Republican governors like Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin began in earnest their long-brewing war on underperforming public schools.

Their idea — considered novel to many parents at the time though pushed by conservatives like economist Milton Friedman since 1955 — was to give parents legal permission, in the form of school vouchers, to send their children to the private secular and parochial schools of their choice.

The “school choice” movement caught fire in the 1990s and began to rack up results in both school districts and the courts, which upheld the legality of such solutions.

But under a different Bush presidency, the movement yielded to the No Child Left Behind legislation created when George W. Bush reached across the aisle to the liberal icon Sen. Edward M. Kennedy to craft an effort to salvage public schools rather than let parents abandon them. The effort caught the media’s fancy but eventually deflated when parents and teachers soured on its chronic testing requirements.

Read more at: Jindal v. Obama: The new school choice battle; La. voucher fight revives reform led by conservatives – Washington Times.

A new paper produced by the Brookings Institute reveals what many in the school choice camp have known for years: Student do better when given the choice of which school to attend. Promoting competition amongst educational instutitions, it would seem from the study, produces the best learning environment for students.

Brookings Institution – The New York City public schools are remarkably different today than they were when Michael Bloomberg was first sworn in as mayor in 2002. One prominent dimension of change has been the expansion of school choice and school competition. This transformation has been associated with significant improvements in student outcomes, including increased graduation rates and enhanced performance on state tests of academic achievement.

Both the types of schools available to students and the process by which students are assigned to schools have changed significantly over the past decade. With 159 charter schools admitting students in 2012-2013, the availability of alternatives to traditional public schools is markedly different than in 2003-2004, when only 22 charter schools existed in the city. There has also been tremendous growth in the number of new regular public schools, including small non-selective high schools that are intended to serve students in the city’s poorest neighborhoods and to provide an alternative to the many large high schools that were closed by the Bloomberg administration because of persistent low performance. The process by which students are assigned to NYC public high schools also changed fundamentally when in 2004, a universal high school choice process was implemented.

Read more at: School Choice and School Performance in the New York City Public Schools – Will the Past be Prologue? | Brookings Institution.