Private school choice is “in,” writes Patrick Wolf. “Far from being rare and untested, private school choice policies are an integral part of the fabric of American education policy.”
Now, these “new ideas” really upset some folks. I’m not one of them. School choice is greater freedom.
Public schooling, on the other hand, is based on very different principles — and principals. It’s no wonder that a system based on compulsion (taxes, attendance, etc.) tends to have so much trouble performing well: it’s not the forced sector of the economy that booms.
Enter school choice. As long as kids must be forced to “attend” a school, I (as a parent) would rather decide which school, for both my sake and my children’s. And if I’m paying taxes, and other kids are getting tax moneys for their education, vouchers are more fair.
Wolf, writing in The Daily Signal, offers evidence that these eminently sensible policies lead to great results. “In Washington, D.C., use of an Opportunity Scholarship increased the likelihood of a student graduating by 71 percent.” Research into the effects of Milwaukee’s program show it “significantly increased the rates of high school graduation, college enrollment and persistence in college for the low-income students. . . .”
Researchers at Brookings Institution and Harvard found similar results for New York City’s “privately funded K-12 scholarship program.”
In his 1859 philosophical polemic, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argued that parents have a duty to educate their children — and society an interest in seeing these duties met. But that doesn’t entail setting up government schools.
It’s time to catch up with Mill’s 1859 wisdom.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.