The school choice movement seeks to improve education by allowing parents the right to choose alternatives to public school for their children. Vouchers that enable parents to take their tax money and spend it on educational alternatives are often advocated to achieve this. It was initially championed by economist Milton Friedman and his wife Rose in the late 1960s.
As of 2007, school choice is available only in very limited ways and only to a tiny percentage of the population. Wisconsin and Ohio have had very small programs. Florida has a voucher program and also has an online alternative to brick and mortar public school, known as Florida Virtual School.
In addition to vouchers for private school and homeschooling options, along with charter schools (mainly in larger cities), some school districts offer a choice, for those who choose the public school system, in which public school their children will attend. This is sometimes called open enrollment. Open enrollment can be limited to only schools within a district (the school district in Garland, Texas, has had open enrollment at the middle and high school levels for several decades) or may also cross over to neighboring districts (such as smaller ones neighboring larger ones). School districts in Florida have an open enrollment system although traditional dictatorship still applies to the school bus system, and those who choose to attend a school where buses are unavailable are required to find alternate transportation. In regions where open enrollment does not exist in public schools, a communist style dictatorship determines what school public school students will attend, which can be particularly a problem where homeschooling is prohibited or unfeasible and no good private schools exist or are affordable.
A Washington Times editorial explains:
- School choice is about as popular with teachers’ unions as crosses are at a convention of vampires. Big Labor only cares about maintaining the guarantee of lifetime employment without accountability based on performance. Nothing says “failure” more loudly than a bunch of students packing their book bags to head elsewhere.
Betsy DeVos, U.S. President Donald Trump Secretary of Education, has called the school choice movement an attempt to "empower" parents to find good schools for their children, whether they be traditional public schools in other neighborhoods, charter schools, virtual schools or private institutions.
A true film regarding impoverished single mother-turned-activist Virginia Walden and her campaign for school choice in the 2000s, named "Miss Virginia," was released in 2019.
Not all opponents of school choice are liberal: fundamentalists commonly oppose school choice (specifically, the use of vouchers for private schools) out of concern that it would give the government the legal right to dictate what the school -- and, possibly, the sponsoring church -- can and cannot teach in its curriculum (e.g. that homosexuality is a sin). Thus, even in places where school choice exists, their schools will not take public vouchers for that reason.
- "Competition through school choice would improve education." Cal Thomas
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