Implicit in this argument are the assumptions that parents—particularly poor and minority parents—are not smart enough to know what is best for their children, and that government will make better school selection choices than parents. However, common sense and experience tell us that most parents do in fact make good decisions with their children's best interests in mind. Some parents may in fact make poor decisions, but this is no argument for denying choice to everyone.
The right to make poor choices is legal.
Minority and lower-income parents can be trusted to make good choices.
The Children's Scholarship Fund (CSF), a private organization that offers financial assistance to lower-income students, received over 1.25 million applicants for their four-year, $1,000 student scholarships. The average income of applying families was under $22,000 per year, showing that parents are willing to make significant financial sacrifices even for scholarships that only pay part of their children's tuition. CSF CEO and Co-Chairman Ted Forstmann remarked, "Think of it: 1.25 million applicants asking to pay $1,000 a year over four years. That's $5 billion that poor families were willing to spend simply to escape the schools where their children have been relegated and to secure a decent education."140
Parents, who understand their children's needs best, should determine the criteria by which to judge schools.
Information will help parents choose the best school. Competition among schools will cause an information market to arise. Schools themselves will generate informational material, appealing to parents on the basis of positive features their particular school has to offer and educating parents in the process. Many schools—even government schools—already promote themselves with marketing and advertising campaigns. Parents will have help determining which school will best serve their children's needs, just as consumers today have help (in the form of Consumer Reports and similar publications) understanding which automotive repair shop, restaurant, or grocery store best serves their needs.