School Choice is an avenue for children to escape schools that don’t meet their educational needs. A public school might have a strong reputation, but that doesn’t mean that it will meet the needs of all the children living in the district.
Melanie Collette-Collins is a teacher who recognizes the need for school choice. She vocally supports giving parents the opportunity to choose which school is best for their children.
“As a public school teacher, people ask me why I would be for school choice. And I tell them it’s because I believe education is the gateway to economic freedom and the kids only get one opportunity to get an education. The students only get one shot at it – and it affects the rest of their lives.”
Children do only have one shot at getting a proper education. And it’s sometimes hard to understand why anyone would be opposed to opening up the avenues for all families to be able to make choices that best fit their children.
Why are most parents who feel their children would best be served attending a school outside their district forced to pay twice, in taxes and in tuition?
There is a big obstacle in the way of obtaining true educational freedom where tax dollars would follow each student to the school of his family’s choice. It is the belief that the public schools should keep money for students they don’t serve. This argument lacks common logic. If a public school didn’t save money when a student is educated elsewhere, then why would they need an increase in funds when enrollment expands?
Opponents of school choice act as if all public school costs are fixed. But, this is not the case. There is a cost to educating each student. If costs don’t decline when students leave the public school to be educated elsewhere, then costs wouldn’t increase with added enrollment. Under a traditional system, when a child goes a private school, the public school retains the funds for students they do not serve.
What other industry retains money for services that are not provided?
From 1950 to 2009, there has been in 252% increase in public school teachers, a 702% increase in administrators and other staff to serve a 96% increase in students. Nationally, public school graduation rates are in line with what they were in 1970 because staff numbers started to bloat. There is no evidence showing that student achievement rose because of the public school hiring spree.
With such an increase in staff, why haven’t the graduation rates improved? Because, an increase in staff doesn’t necessarily impact quality. Most consumers demand quality over quantity in the marketplace. And looking at the numbers, it is very hard to believe that quality is added to the classroom by such a significant increase in administrators.
In Fiscal Years 1992 to 2012, Ohio public schools saw a 2 percent decrease in enrollment. That decrease was accompanied by a four percent increase in teachers and an astonishing forty eight percent increase in administrators and other staff.
According to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, had Ohio schools reduced non-teaching staff to match the decline in enrollment, they would have saved $2.3 BILLION annually. It is hard to envision how the status quo benefits students, parents, teachers or taxpayers.
These numbers are astounding. In the private sector, a company couldn’t withstand the increase in costs, particularly since there seems to be little or no benefit to the students. More School Choice would encourage competition. Competition usually brings about a decrease in costs and an increase in quality.
And those are two things that are sorely needed in our schools.