Parental Choice

Are choices in education really less palatable than choices in medicine?

There aren’t many people in the mainstream who would quibble with Scott’s call to allow families of limited financial means equal opportunities to choose the right doctor and to make decisions in consultation with those doctors. But the governor raises a contradiction that school choice opponents seldom address. Why is it appropriate for parents to choose their children’s doctors but not their children’s schools or teachers?

New Orleans, defining public education anew — through choice

Brian Dassler, principal of the KIPP Renaissance High School in New Orleans, and David R. Colburn, who served as provost from UF from 2000 to 2005 and now runs the university’s Ruben Askew Institute on Politics and Society, note that states and school systems would do well to study the ingredients that lifted the city’s public schools. Central to that success, the pair argues: The school system “provided real choice to all families regardless of their financial means. What had been a luxury afforded only to higher-income families in the past is now available to every parent in the city.”

No Child Left Behind demands we employ every option for poor children

In his Washington Post commentary today on reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is still offering a narrow definition of flexibility and an unnecessarily limited set of options to reduce the achievement gap. Duncan lauded the bipartisan support in Congress for “providing more flexibility[Read More…]

One Florida mother shows how choice promotes equity

Gardner supports providing parents with more options, but he sees a disconnect – and, ultimately, a lack of fairness – between the perception of public school choice and the frustration parents experience when facing the admissions criteria school districts have established. He doesn’t address how private learning options can resolve that conflict, but it’s Florida’s program, in particular, that can help bring fairness to a process that supposed to empower the parent.

Mr. Secretary, we don’t drown students in Florida

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan brings an intellectual heft and a genuine compassion to his job, which is why he can’t be excused for his duplicitous talk on learning options for poor children.

That word, duplicitous, is unusually harsh. So please allow me to try to defend it with three of his own statements, made all within a 29-minute span, to a distinguished audience at former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s National Summit on Education Reform in Washington earlier this month.

Does going to the best school matter? Only if it’s the best fit.

RedefinED host Doug Tuthill is fond of talking about his choice of high school years ago for his son in St. Petersburg, Fla. While Tuthill is known in these parts for launching the first International Baccalaureate school in Florida, the magnet school he chose for his youngest son has long been considered a failure in terms of academic achievement. Of all the schools he could have picked, he picked a school the state had graded an “F.”

Children of color are not the only ones empowered by private school options

As the Florida coordinator of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), I am frequently asked by Democrats in other states why so many elected Florida Democrats support all forms of school choice, including vouchers and tax credit scholarships, but not tenure and teacher pay reforms.  The answer is black middle-class jobs[Read More…]