Even Talk About School Choice is Helpful



When parents have access to a wide variety of educational options, public schools are forced to be more attentive to the needs of families.

If every parent is empowered to take their child out of a public school that does not provide adequate programs or instruction, then public schools are forced to innovate and improve.

Parents with real choices put the focus of education exactly where it should be: on the students, not the system.
This pressure to improve is being demonstrated in an unlikely place: Spartanburg District 7.

In fact, even the possibility of comprehensive school choice options being given to parents has prompted Spartanburg 7 to promote greater “choice” within the district.
In a variety of published articles and public commentaries, Thomas White- Spartanburg 7 superintendent and free golf enthusiast- has been outspoken in his criticism of comprehensive choice options for families in South Carolina.

In fact, prior to the still-raging scandals over White’s willingness to spend large amounts of taxpayer dollars on private country clubs, weekend retreats at luxury hotels and marketing firms, White authored a piece in the Spartanburg Herald Journal claiming that he does support choices for parents…as long as the choices are within the public school system. White even went so far as to claim that giving South Carolina parents the ability to use a small tax credit to home school or attend private school could result in state funding for jihadist training camps.

“If mainstream private religious schools can receive the money from tax credits or vouchers, so can the extremist religious schools that teach Islamic jihad with an anti-American agenda.”

Despite this aversion to allowing people choices that he doesn’t ultimately control, White’s unpopularity, and strong support for school choice legislation voiced by state lawmakers, has put pressure on him to make District 7 look more attractive to disgruntled parents.

Ironically enough, White has attempted to do this by offering “school choice” to parents within the district. In actuality, White’s small-scale open-enrollment is more characterized by bureaucracy and red-tape than actual parental empowerment.

Still, the mad dash to be seen as responsive to parents makes it clear: School choice legislation has not even been enacted yet, and already school districts are being motivated to change!


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