After twenty-five years of teaching in public schools, you would think I would oppose school choice. Certainly the big national union would have you believe that ALL public school teachers are in lock-step about this. Surprise! Not so, Sherlock. Not so.
To be precise, school choice includes Charter schools (which are PUBLIC schools, guys), home-based learning situations, private schools, and lots of iterations in between.
A key aspect of school choice is money. All of us pay taxes to support the public schools. No one worries about separation of church and state when they take your money; however, the reverse is not true. Over the past several decades as I have watched these conversations unfold, a big deal has been made about somehow accidentally supporting religion by allowing your tax dollars to go to private schools. It isn't all about Christians, either, though politicians seem stuck on them. The whole thing puts people at an unfair disadvantage because of this bias against faith-based or other private forms of schools. Weirdly, the bias also falls on Charter schools, which are public schools for goodness sake.
In my state, those tax dollars can go to big corporations who create online learning which students can enroll in for free and the corporations profit. But if a private or faith-based school sets up either face-to-face or online learning, the state discriminates against parents who want to send their kids to those schools. They don't get one penny of the tax dollars they have shelled out. Not only do they still have to support the public school with their taxes, but they have to pay extra to send their children to a non-public school, or to teach them at home.
The silver lining in the lock downs and our current crisis might be finally breaking that barrier to school choice. In my state, the average amount of money given to schools per student each year is around $8,000. If the money went with the child, no matter where they went to school, that would seem fair. It is, after all, your money.
Of course, public schools don't want this to happen. Every child they lose costs them their state money. It's pretty obvious that it wouldn't take the loss of too many students for a school to have to start cutting staff and other things.
If public schools were doing a good job, this wouldn't be a problem. On this web site, I include links to individuals who offer a better idea about educating our kids. The issue is getting entire school districts and states to adopt approaches that are effective but only being used in individual schools scattered across the country.
For any parent visiting my site, I'd encourage you to become involved in supporting your ability to choose and have your money go to the school you want your child(ren) to attend. Frankly, it isn't just about better academics, either. Public schools have been indoctrinating kids for quite a long time now. Actually, teachers themselves have also been subject to a kind of indoctrination that is really harmful, without even being aware of it. Breaking up the school monopoly and allowing families to choose how their children are educated is a also great opportunity to reclaim the public schools as well. Making members of the established system step back and re-examine their philosophies and practices could help reshape the public school into something that really serves the public, instead of a system where kids are treated like widgets and are indoctrinated into ways of thinking that are harmful.
Those things will be for a future post. For now, I'd like to encourage parents to seize this opportunity to take control of their child(ren)s learning. I will keep adding content to help you. I think you would find this interview with Katharine Birbalsigh insightful: youtu.be/DXc46-NlOyw.