School Choice: Leveling the Playing Field

August 8, 2014

Currently, all taxpayers fund traditional public schools, even when their children attend private schools that cost them additional funds. Parents who are unhappy with the public education options offered to their children have two options: they can move, or they can enroll their children in private school (paying additional funds, therefore, on top of the public education funds they have paid in taxes).

In a new video from the National Center for Policy Analysis, Senior Fellow John Merrifield explains exactly why school choice works to benefit students.

Allowing for school choice, Merrifield says, expands schooling options to families that would otherwise be unable to afford them. Alternatives to traditional public schools become more accessible to all students, because no longer are students limited in their choice of school based solely on their address or ability to pay additional tuition.

According to Merrifield, the current system of assigning children to classrooms based on nothing more than their ages and addresses creates disengagement, because such a random collection of students will have a wide range of interests and skills. This situation is tough on teachers as well as the students.

What the United States needs is a process that would match educators' strengths with children's needs. That, says Merrifield, is what school choice would do.

Merrifield suggests that schools could be tailored to student interests. He offers the example of a sports-themed school: students would learn math and reading and writing just like they would in any other classroom, but with a sports-themed curriculum. By packaging the material in a way that appeals to students' interests, children will learn better and be excited about going to class every day.

The current education system is a disaster for the poor, says Merrifield. With vouchers, tax credits and Education Savings Accounts, more families could choose the education options that best fit their children's' needs.

Source: John Merrifield, "The Importance of School Choice," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 6, 2014. 

 

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