Why School Choice Matters

Why School Choice Matters

Choice means better outcomes – for everyone.

Currently, the public education system holds a veritable monopoly on education that halts innovations in learning and restricts student achievement. Those who live in areas with better schools – or families who have access to options like private or homeschooling – have a greater opportunity to flourish. Meanwhile, others – usually at-risk kids – are left behind in underperforming schools.

Bridging that gap, school choice allows parents to choose the best school for their kids. This forces all schools and educational programs to up their performance in order to retain or gain students.

Here are a few examples:

  1. School choice improves academic outcomes

Out of 17 different empirical studies measuring the impact school choice on academic achievement in public schools showed, 16 showed an improvement in academic performance, while one showed a neutral academic outcome. Leading researchers say that, due to the way vouchers were implemented in that one natural city – Washington, D.C. – “it does not detract from a research consensus.”

Not only do kids who take advantage of school choice do better in school, they’re also more likely to graduate. Three studies have shown increased graduation rates among those in school choice programs while none showed a neutral or negative effect. These students are also more likely to go to collegeand graduate – which has a great economic as well as educational benefit.

Even better? School choice almost certainly helps kids who remain in district schools, too. That is referred to as “the ripple effect”.

  1. School choice supports mental health in kids

Instances of mental health issues in children had been growing in the years leading up to the pandemic, at which point they skyrocketed. There is no certainty on when schools will open fully or for how long, and we can’t wait. School choice could be the answer.

States with charter school laws have seen a decline in adolescent suicide and children who attend private schools are less likely to report mental health issues as adults.

  1. Safety is key

Parent surveys have found that safety is one of the top things they look for when choosing a school for their children – and the percentage of parents ranking that as the top factor is growing.

Research shows that, overall, private and charter schools are safer than district schools.

It might not come as a surprise then that school choice reduces crime among young adults.

  1. Natural Integration

In many district schools, kids are divided by the race or socio-economic status of the surrounding neighborhood. As schools diversify to offer more a more customized education, the student body naturally desegregates.

Of the 10 studies that looked at segregation in schools, 9 found that school choice improved rather than exacerbated it. The remaining study found no difference.

  1. The community benefits

School choice programs can cost taxpayers less than educating a child in a traditional district school, saving taxpayers millions.

Kids who take part in school choice programs are found to have higher levels of civic engagement than their peers. These kids are more likely to vote and volunteer.

School choice eliminates the school district monopoly and allows kids to break generational cycles of poverty through better education. When parents have a choice, educational providers can offer a variety of options so that each child can go to the best school for them.

When education is competitive, the kids win.

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