Opponents of school choice often claim that allowing parents greater freedom to choose the schools their children attend is a risky and experimental idea that will hurt education. But school choice has a long history of boosting student achievement and academic success when it's been tried.
For example, early American families were free to choose from a wide range of specialized schools before the 1840s, when government began to assign students to tax-funded schools. Literacy rates were then as high as 97 percent—much higher than today.
Many great Americans including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin were schooled primarily at home before government assumed responsibility for education.
School choice is also working today. A recent Harvard University study showed that New York City students using private school scholarship vouchers are outperforming their public school peers.
In Michigan, limited parental choice among charter, magnet, and traditional public schools is giving all schools powerful incentives to offer improved and innovative educational programs.
School choice has worked historically and it's working today. Expanding choice in Michigan with tuition vouchers or tax credits would go even further toward improving education for all students.
For the Mackinac Center, this is Joseph Lehman