Competition ensures that all schools are ultimately accountable to those who matter most—parents and students.  Parents who have choices in education can "vote with their feet" by sending their children to another, better school when their current one is not serving their children's needs.  Private schools are also subject to many of the same regulations as are government schools and are routinely held to the same or higher standards of performance than are the government schools.

The Facts:

  • Public schools lack real accountability.  Many people, particularly policy-makers, confuse rules and regulations with accountability.  While it is true that public schools must adhere to many laws, this fact has failed to make schools answerable to the public.  As long as children are unable to escape a school system that is failing to meet their needs, real accountability will never exist in the public schools.  Giving parents choices in how and where their children are educated creates a level of accountability that no law will ever generate.  It is this fundamental component that prevents public schools from being truly accountable to taxpayers, parents, and children. 

  • Schools that answer to parents, not politicians, are most accountable.  In general, parents have their children's best interests in mind more so than does the government or even a caring teacher.  Under the current system, parents lack control and influence over the education of their children.  With choice, parents have the opportunity to remove their children from a poorly performing or otherwise unsatisfactory school and to place them in other schools.  Schools that fail to respond to parental concerns will constantly face the prospect of losing students to other schools that do.

  • Private schools already comply with essential government regulations.  There is no basis in educational experience or research to suggest that regulation creates better schools; even so, private schools already provide essential fire and safety protection, observe compulsory attendance requirements, and cover core mandated subjects such as history, English, math, and science. 

  • Private schools are accredited by the same agencies that accredit government schools.  Private schools are at least as accountable as government schools by the government's own measurements of accountability.  According to Charles O'Malley, executive director of the National Council for Private School Accreditation, approximately 96 percent of all private school students attend schools that are accredited or evaluated by national, regional, or state private organizations.  The result is that the vast majority of private schools are able to meet government school accreditation requirements.[108]

[108]       Charles J. O'Malley, Ph.D., "Who Says Private Schools Aren't Accountable?," Prepared for Temple University and Manhattan Institute, Western Regional Science Association, October 1995, p. 8.

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