This week in school choice: A better way

This week, we received important reminders about the two oldest forms of parental school choice:

The housing market …  :

[W]hen asked at a news conference in November why the city did not at least do what it could to redraw attendance lines, [New York Mayor Bill de Blasio] defended the property rights of affluent parents who buy into neighborhoods to secure entry into heavily white schools. “You have to also respect families who have made a decision to live in a certain area,” he said, because families have “made massive life decisions and investments because of which school their kid would go to.” The mayor suggested there was little he could do because school segregation simply was a reflection of New York’s stark housing segregation, entrenched by decades of discriminatory local and federal policy. “This is the history of America,” he said.

and address fraud.

My mom and dad had only been in America for four years. Their financial situation was tough, and they didn’t know the system yet. But they knew I had to attend the school where I was assigned, based on where we lived.

So my parents did something thousands of other public-school parents feel forced to do, because they feel they have no other options. They lied about where we lived so I could go to a different school where I would feel safe.

Traditional schools, assigned based on where students live, may be nominally public, but they aren’t equally accessible to all. (See also: The latest chapter long-running legal battle of Missouri parents looking to transfer from low-performing school districts to higher-performing ones).

There’s a better way. It involves creating new and better options for parents, and ensuring those options are most accessible to those who have historically been excluded from the old system.


Hillary Clinton has a wonky disposition, including on education issues, but K-12 policy is the glaring exception. What’s up with that?

On her website, a simple search for education terms on the “Factsheets” section reveals her lack of specifics. The terms “preschool” and “college” produce full descriptions of the Clintons’ history with, beliefs on, and plans for the policy area. There are dollar amounts and time frames and specific cutoff points for planned benefits.

None of those details appear on K-12 education. Try searching Clinton’s website for terms like “teacher,” “assessment,” “elementary,” “high school,” and so on, and you won’t find any substantive policy proposals.

Her public addresses haven’t offered much more detail. In a recent speech before the New York State United Teachers Representative Assembly, Clinton played to the crowd by vowing to support teachers by “raising teacher pay” and “facing tough issues like over-testing.” She even went on to say that she “does not believe that more testing will solve homelessness or poverty.”

Others try to help clarify her stance on charter schools.

Charter schools and market malfunctions. Are “markets” the problem?

Empowering Hispanic communities to attract better schools.

South Dakota prepares to implement its tax credit scholarship law.

Student-based budgeting comes to Nashville.

Vouchers, special needs students, and civil rights.

Quote of the Week

The moral vision behind Brown v. Board of Education is dead.

New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres, in the New York Times Magazine’s must-read story on segregated schools.<

Tweet of the Week

This Week in School Choice is redefinED’s weekly roundup of national news related to educational options. It appears Monday mornings on the blog, but you can sign up here to get it Sunday. Did we miss something? Sends tips, links, suggestions and feedback to tpillow[at]sufs[dot]org.

We send our heartfelt condolences to the Orlando community, and the families of the victims of this Sunday’s horrific terrorist attack. Today we are praying for peace.