When is it “Real” School Choice?

voucherstudents1.jpgTwo of the best edubloggers are having a sort of “accidental debate:” they’re posting on the same issue by coincidence. It turns out they’re “arguing” about what is possibly the most important issue in education reform today: How can you tell a good school choice plan from an imposter?

Is public school choice enough? Or should we let parents choose whichever school is best for their child—even if it’s not public?

On this blog, we’ve taken a strong stance in favor of real school choice that allows parents to pick schools that allow prayer or forbid it; imposes uniforms or has no dress code; lets children call teachers by their first name or applies military discipline. In our book, “choice” means having an option. Any school choice plan that excludes certain types of schools—e.g., Christian or other religious schools—isn’t worthy of the name.

Now, there is an alternate view even among people who are genuinely in favor of choice. (I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if Jim Rex falls into the category.) Their thinking is that half a loaf is better than none, and you can’t always get what you want but you might just get what you need. So some of them have thought hard about trying to pare down school choice into its bare essentials in order to be in a better position to compromise, claim victory, and live to fight another day. In that vein, I give you…

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Joanne Jacobs, “Choice Creates Change

vs.

Casey Lartigue, recounting what happens when so-called “school choice” puts bureaucrats, not parents, in charge

 

I expect a good, clean fight.

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