You’re anti-school-choice, because…?

I was just reading a post by an anti-school-choice activist.  Those against parents choosing a quality school for their children say that school choice promotes segregation and division between the social classes.   I just don’t see how.

People who are racist would make hateful choices in all aspects of their lives, not just in school choice for their children.  For the most part, I think people are loving and accepting of all ethnic backgrounds.  If the anti-school-choice set is so concerned about segregation issues perhaps they should spend their energy on reaching those with racist hatred in their hearts, and helping them see the individual uniqueness and infinite worth of each person.

As far as their concern with social class and “haves and have nots” being divided, perhaps they could put energy into helping the “have nots” find living wage jobs or job training.  This would include helping corporations and businesses expand so that living wage jobs are available.  A family with a solid job will soon be lifted from poverty.

I just don’t see school choice creating a segregation or social class issue.  In fact, it puts quality schools within reach of everyone – not just the wealthy who can afford private schools, and opens the door for everyone to become part of a school community that blends their local demographics.  Hmmm. . .it actually sounds quite. . .equitable.


  1. In response to: I just don’t see school choice creating a segregation or social class issue. In fact, it puts quality schools within reach of everyone – not just the wealthy who can afford private schools, and opens the door for everyone to become part of a school community that blends their local demographics. Hmmm. . .it actually sounds quite. . .equitable.

    It does sound equitable, doesn’t it? But let’s look at numbers. According to the Kids Count Data Center, in 2016, there were over 6 million kids in deep or extreme poverty (living at 50% of the national poverty level). 6 million. Let’s focus on a city: in Philadelphia, there are almost 70,000 kids in deep poverty, the vast majority of whom are in the School District of Philadelphia. There are 214 private K-12 schools in Philly, most of which are religiously affiliated, that serve approximately 48,000 students; unfortunately, the average acceptance rate of those schools is 62%, which means each school is “full.” It also means it is likely that “quality schools” are harder to get into, and the admission process for all schools, even public charter schools, requires access to and literacy with technology, something that is unlikely for a family with an income of $12,000 or less per year.

    Bottom line? Your scenario may sound equitable, but it is anything but.

    There are millions of kids denied a decent education because, frankly, our society collectively does not give a damn about them. The answer is not vouchers and charters et al, which DO segregate by class (which often equates with skin color). The answer is a massive moral war on ignorance that begins with requiring teachers to apply what the research has proven, time and time again, works with all students. Over four decades in the profession with an opportunity to observe and work with hundreds and hundreds of teachers has confirmed for me that the majority of teachers believe their individual scientific samples of one have more value than, say, the meta-analysis done by Marzano et al that involved over 4000 pieces of juried research. Another example: in training nearly 2000 teachers and administrators across Pennsylvania, I discovered virtually none had heard about Self-Determination Theory, which is deeply researched and accepted by education professionals in nearly every developed country in the world accept for the U.S. American teachers, in contrast, are still practicing Skinnerian psychology and treating kids like pigeons. American teachers and administrators have atta-boyed, gold-starred, candy-barred, and student-of-the-weeked the intrinsic motivation to learn out of virtually every American kid by the time they reach the fifth grade.

    If you are poor in America, the reality of inequity is deafening.

    Oh, and I’ve spent over forty years as a teacher, administrator, and bureacrat, with the greatest portion of those years working with and on behalf of disadvantaged kids. I have done my best as an individual to address what you have suggested, but unfortunately, there are millions of Americans–many of whom claim to be Christians but who would not recognize a truly charitable and compassionate opportunity if it smacked them in the face–who just don’t give a damn about the poor, and trying to move those millions amounts to nothing more that tilting at windmills. If I sound frustrated, I am. Turning around and looking back at 70 and seeing the universal failure of education to create a sophisticated, critical thinking populace, which has resulted in the dysfunctional political atmosphere currently poisoning our country, will do that to you.

    Keep tilting.


    • Mr. Byrem,
      I, too, am appalled that so many people simply do not care about impoverished children. It sounds like you made a difference in the lives of many of them, and that will have a positive ripple effect.
      I am aware that I need to research more on the acceptance of students into, and capacity of, private schools and charters.
      I’m baffled by families needing to be technology proficient to apply to schools, however. I’ve taught in a high-poverty district, and parents come straight into the school office to fill out paperwork. There is no requirement that it be done online, and if there were, I’m sure the school would assist the parent. This would be especially true if the parent were applying to a ‘for profit’ private school or charter, because they of course would want the tuition dollars. To say that families cannot get their children into schools other than public ones doesn’t seem to be an argument with much weight.
      Let’s say that is the case, though. Why wouldn’t we provide avenues to help them to do just that – fill out applications for their students to get into quality schools? 48,000 families in Philly seem to believe their kids are better off out of the public schools. Perhaps helping impoverished kids in Philly, and elsewhere, means we help their parents understand they can choose what school their kids go to. Don’t hammer these parents’ dignity by claiming they lack the savvy to choose a school for their child.
      That said, we also must realize that everyone, no matter what your income, at some point has to take responsibility for their own lives and the lives of their children. Families must choose that path of bettering themselves. Until they are willing to change, and, say, seek a way out of poverty. .. That is the point at which we need to be ready to give them a hand up. If that includes helping them get their child registered for school, so be it. Sometimes it is not that people don’t want to help the impoverished, it’s that people are waiting and hoping that those in poverty will choose to reach up and accept the help we have to give.

      Liked by 1 person

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