We need School Choice

When our society emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, our school systems will almost certainly operate in many different ways. The changes will depend on how different school systems confronted the pandemic and the length of their school’s closure.

A close example of school attendance is the audience at movie theaters. Most theaters are now closed and the studios are using streaming services to distribute movies. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more comfortable people are seeing first-run movies in their homes. There could be little incentive for people to return to the theater once the pandemic is over. A new business model emerges. We may be seeing a similar attitude towards education with distance learning. This is not to say that educational instruction will move entirely to distance learning, but a good number will most likely offer more distance learning opportunities when the pandemic final ends.

Distance learning is a new model for school systems to embrace and incorporate. Certainly, if distance learning was to catch on by a majority of families, the brick and mortar infrastructure would be greatly impacted. And there are a minority of families that rely on the current infrastructure to not only educate their children but for their very living. Many families, particularly lower-income, rely on public schools, the brick and mortar schools, to provide food, health care, and childcare. And not every child learns effectively with distance learning. Plus, there is the interaction between students with each other and their teachers. Distance learning isn’t likely to eliminate the traditional public-school system. And I don’t believe it should.

Education is about expanding options and choices, and this is where school choice comes into play. We need school choice. Simply put, communities, families and children are diverse, and our school systems need to reflect that diversity.

In a recent Gallup poll concerning the Covid-19 pandemic and school systems, 36 percent of parents wanted their children to receive fully in‐person education, 36 percent wanted an in‐person/distance hybrid, and 28 percent wanted the children to have only distance learning. Each model was preferred by essentially one‐third of parents.

What is school choice? School choice allows public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs—whether that’s to a public school, private school, charter school, home school or any other learning environment parents choose for their kids. The secret to children succeeding in school is letting the parents decide which school choice they deem appropriate for the children. Schools competing for students greatly increases not only the success of the school but that of the student also. Research consistently shows that school choice drastically increases academic success. Only about 40 percent of conventionally schooled students are proficient in reading and math. Why do we keep doing something that fails 60 percent of the time? Private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling offer an education customized to the student that public schools do not. Public school students are thrown into one-site-fits-all classes. We in the United States decide how to run our own country, and how to raise our own children. We do not need government officials doing it for us. School choice is a must for our families and our children.