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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

School choice shouldn’t be controversial

School choice shouldn’t be controversial, writes Chris Stewart on Citizen Ed.

School Choice Week reminds us that “hundreds of thousands of children are on waiting lists for charter schools,” he writes. “There are many more students with special needs for whom private programs would be better, but they lack the financial support to access those schools. And, there are the students for whom homeschooling would make a world of difference.”

Stewart sees choice opponents as “parents with money living safely in the best parts of San FranciscoSeattleMadisonMinneapolis, and other hyper-liberal enclaves, who lock arms with middle-class teachers’ unions to prevent parents in other parts of town, those areas with less money, from having options everyone should have.”

. . . What they won’t admit is that many parents see public schools are an attack on the potential of children; or that those schools are segregated because school boards elected in low-turnout elections draw red lines that create education deserts and preserve privilege for the parents school districts prize most; or that America has rarely devised any program to help the poor that doesn’t in some way helped everyone else.

Stewart believes choice advocates “have oversold it as poverty alleviation rather than something basic and universal.”

While I believe parental choice is an invaluable tool in the fight against inequality, I think we focus too much on school reform hotspots like New Orleans and D.C..and we ignore better school choice examples like Arizona where families of every stripe are invested in choice as a basic premise of how education should happen.

“Every child, whether poor or rich, black or white or brown or foreign-born, has a human right to an education that fits,” he concludes.

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