What You Should Know About School Choice

This week is National School Choice Week and to celebrate, LearnLiberty.org has released a video exploring the benefits of giving students and parents more options. Dr. Angela Dills, of Providence College, gives four research-based reasons why school choice should be expanded.

First, school choice doesn’t have to mean a hefty bill for parents. Alternatives like charter public schools and online virtual academies, vouchers and tuition tax credits alter the way schooling is produced without changing how it’s funded.

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Second, school choice actually lowers the cost of schooling. Schools that aren’t automatically guaranteed a supply of students from the local population have to be more diligent in making sure that resources are well spent. Research from around the United States and other countries show that areas with more schooling options spend less per student to provide that schooling.

Third, school choice raises the quality of education.  A competitive marketplace means the customer is king, and schools that have to attract students are more responsive to what parents want. This is reflected in surveys where parents in areas with more schooling options report higher levels of satisfaction and feel that their children are safer.

Fourth, low-income and minority students are more likely to benefit from increased school choice. Charter public schools and private schools that serve low-income and minority students are more likely to benefit their students because these students’ traditional public schools tend to be worse.

Increasing educational options is a strong theme in Mackinac Center policy recommendations because it’s a strategy that works for students currently satisfied with their school as well as those who are not.