This is “school choice” week for those who propose that all parents just take a certain amount of tax money and choose whatever school they want their child to be in. But it doesn’t always work that way.
School makes the choice
In many cases, the “choice” is by the school as to whether your child will be accepted or not. As I pointed out in my last post, much of selling “school choice” is a bait-and-switch game. Tell the voters that it will do one thing, with plans to do something else once it passes.
What we now know is that especially for poor children, more often the school is the one making the choice, not the parents.
There is a track record
How do we know? In some states like Oklahoma “school choice” is still somewhat theoretical, but not in all states. In fact, the U.S. as a whole has about a decade of experience from a number of states and stories from implementing “school choice”.
And what we are seeing isn’t pretty.
If your child is black, brown, on an individualized education plan (IEP), or has a history of discipline issues good luck trying to get them into the school of your choice.
Even if you are from a lower economic class than the majority of the students in the school, you just may not get in. Never mind the reasons that they state, it’s because the parents with real money don’t want their children mixing with yours.
Even if your children get in
Suppose there is room at a school that you want to put your child into. Suppose they think that your child is a good fit. Suppose that the school accepts children of color, but only children of color assuming that those kids (your kids) can only accomplish being compliant low-level servants of a corporation.
Supposing all of those things work the way that you want and your child gets into the school of your choice. That means that…
- They choose your child for acceptance as the last word.
- They can choose, without your input, to “exit” (kick out) your child any time the administrators or even other more influential parents decide that your child is too high maintenance or even too expensive to keep.
“School Choice Week” promotes the school having the choice to refuse your child entrance or kick them out because, well, “she just doesn’t fit in”.
“School choice” means the school does what it wants
Parents are being sold one idea while the reality is far different.
Here are the realities of an “education marketplace”:
- Schools reject students according to income/cost potential.
- Schools kick out students who are struggling mid-year.
- Schools stretch their dollars so much that substandard education is delivered just to benefit their investors.
- Schools go broke and close within a few months of the end of the school year.
Think about it.