NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NCPA Book Lays Anti-School Choice Arguments To Rest

February 7, 2001

School choice programs are blossoming across the country according to a new book -- An Education Agenda: Let Parents Choose Their Children's School -- published jointly by the National Center for Policy Analysis and Children First America.

  • In just 10 years the number of students involved in either privately or publicly funded choice programs have climbed from zero to more than 60,000.
  • Last school year, nearly 50,000 students participated in 68 privately funded programs, and at least another 12,000 in three publicly funded ones.
  • Furthermore, there are now over 500,000 children in charter schools.

These programs are expanding nationwide because of their overwhelming success, according to 22 of the nation's leading experts on school choice who contributed to the book. They answer the arguments of those who would maintain the status quo by maintaining the public school monopoly.

Here is a brief sampling of rebuttals to those arguments:

  • Rather than causing a disaster for Milwaukee's public schools, the competition generated by that city's Parental Choice Program forced public schools there to shape up and guarantee that every child would be able to read by the third grade.
  • As for the charge that choice drains public schools of resources, per student public school funding actually increased 5.7 percent after 8.4 percent of students left to participate in the choice HORIZON project in a San Antonio school district.
  • Laying to rest the theory that school choice will drain the best and brightest students from public schools, experts report that children who took advantage of choice programs in Milwaukee, San Antonio and Cleveland were more likely to be minorities, from a single-parent home, below average in performance and encumbered with a history of behavioral problems.

The NCPA book demonstrates that school choice is the true civil rights issue of our time.

Source: John C. Goodman and Fritz F. Steiger, editors, "An Education Agenda: Let Parents Choose Their Children's School" (Dallas, Texas: National Center for Policy Analysis and Children First America, 2001); Pete du Pont (National Center for Policy Analysis), "Giving Parents a Choice," Washington Times, February 7, 2001.


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