School choice is about to go mainstream

  • Article by: Michael Gerson
  • Updated: April 1, 2013 - 9:10 PM

It’s the marketplace, really, that’s bringing it up to scale.

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pumiceApr. 1, 13 9:09 PM

From the article: "The proper role of government is to ensure the provision of essential services — not always to provide those services itself." How will vouchers fit in with Minnesota's state constitution, Michael Gerson? Article 8, Sections 1 and 3 are very specific: "The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature to establish a general and uniform system of ... Public Schools in each township in the State."

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pumiceApr. 1, 13 9:45 PM

From the article: "[M]ore than half a million low- and middle-income Hoosier students — and about 62 percent of all families — are eligible for state aid to help pay for a private or religious school." Whoa! Rep. Cantor's looking for "some way that [Congress] could reallocate federal dollars." Will Congress finally vote to fully fund programs for children with special needs? Will children from the poorest neighborhoods get bussed to smaller, safer schools? How overcrowded will Indiana's private and religious schools be with half a million new students!

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jdlellis1Apr. 1, 1310:06 PM

The biggest difference between well performing and poor performing schools can be summed up in one word, "accountability." When parents (in plural) and students assume responsibility, then the tools provided by teachers, administrators and other services enhance the family foundation.

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geowhizgirlApr. 1, 1310:32 PM

Lots of money to be made pulling money from public education to private. Lots. The entire commentary is twisting of information as justification for that.

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potter101Apr. 2, 1312:12 AM

Religious schools and the political poison that comes with it should not be included in any federal funding.

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luzhishenApr. 2, 13 7:35 AM

Get ready to find the main shifts in students being driven by sports, not education.

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mgmckeApr. 2, 13 8:00 AM

As a public school teacher I would have no issue with vouchers IF they made one change. Make private schools have to accept, educate, AND KEEP any student who shows up at the door. Then you would have an apples to apples comparison of the schools' effectiveness. Until then, vouchers will only get the most motivated students from the most motivated families and public schools will have to deal with the remaining students. Is there anyone who thinks private schools won't win in that game?

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jdlellis1Apr. 2, 1310:36 AM

mgmcke, In the public sector, how about making parents "accountable" for their childs success. Far too many parents toss their children over the wall to the public schools without "engaging" the school and/or their own child on building a platform for success. My experience with education in several states and particularly throughout Minnesota would suggest first, far too many parents are not engaged and second, given the requirements in charter, private, home and others alternative schools of accountability, regardless of ethnicity, religion, physical/congnative challenges, many students would shun the rigors and requirements for success (e.g., behavior, homework, parental involvement) and many charter and public schools will accept these students if they strive to perform.

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gandalf48Apr. 2, 1312:32 PM

This is about simple choice, by taking away the choice you're hurting low income families most. It's not the rich families that take on financial hardships to send their kids to private schools it is the middle class and poor families who struggle to afford private school. Vouchers are a simple way to give families a bit of support when making a decision on how to educate their children...you're either for choice or you're against it.

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cstoney48Apr. 2, 1312:50 PM

gandalf48 said: "you're either for choice or you're against it." In a simple world, that sounds wonderful. But will that choice mean that all schools will be required to accept all students--no matter what social, emotional, behavioral and/or psychological baggage they bring? Will they be required to provide the spectrum of educational services necessary to ensure all students an opportunity for success. And then there is that activities/sports allure--consider Texas football--red shirting 9th graders anyone. As with most things, the devil is in the details--and there are plenty of potential detail devils in this one. So, which choices are we embracing?

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