School Choice – An Unwise Option
The topic of charter schools and school vouchers is an ongoing debate that is currently being held in places from local school board meetings to state supreme courts. Both charter schools and school voucher programs are often referred to as “school choice” initiatives, because they allow parents to choose different educational options for their children than the traditional public school system. What a school voucher program does is give parents certificates that are used to pay for education at a school of their choice, rather than the public school that they are assigned. Charter schools on the other hand are publicly funded schools that have been freed from some of the rules and regulations that apply to other public schools. In exchange, charter schools are expected to produce certain results. As Americans we enjoy choices and often associate a choice as something positive. Being able to choose a school may sound like a reasonable option at a glance, but under inspection it has some serious problems. School choice turns out to not only be a bad idea; it also violates our constitution.
Considering the many challenges facing public schools, it makes sense that many people would want to seek new options. Supporters of school choice point out that with the current public school system parents with a larger income already use school choice by moving from areas with failing or dangerous schools to neighborhoods with better, safer schools. Their argument is that school choice would allow all parents the ability, regardless of income level, to select the school that provides the best education (Karaim). Schools would then have to compete for students by offering higher results and greater safety. Schools unable to measure up to the standards of successful schools would fail and most likely close. Supporters of the school choice movement can be praised for wanting to improve public education, but the changes the changes they’re asking for could in fact seriously damage public education as a whole.
One of the biggest dangers of school choice is the power it gives to large corporations that open and operate charter schools. Two of these companies are Green Dot, which is the leading public school operator in Los Angeles (Green Dot), and KIPP, which operates 200 schools across the country (KIPP). These companies represent a growing of the privatizing of public schools by large corporations. It is feared that these corporations could grow to a point that the public would no longer have any control over education. Educational choices would then be decided by business think tanks, corporate boards of directors, and people who are more interested in making a profit than educating students...