On school choice, ideas
for changing the premise
Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin has declared his support for “school choice,” but it’s not really choice for families. Rather, it is taxpayer-funded choice for private and selective charter schools to pick the students they want and exclude the students they would rather leave to public schools.
Under the schemes proposed by “choice” advocates, private and selective charter schools dictate the terms. I offer a proposal for genuinely equitable school choice.
First, private and charter schools benefiting from public funds would be required to operate under fully open or blind lottery-based enrollment. Further, they would be prohibited from excluding special needs students, economically disadvantaged students, non-English speakers or students needing transportation to attend a “choice” school.
Also, these schools would be prohibited from expelling students because of low achievement or minor disciplinary infractions, and they would be subject to all state testing (like SOL tests) and other public accountability requirements.
Private and charter schools may want public money, but they also want to control their clientele. The reasonable provisions above would promote a level field and provide these schools a marvelous opportunity to showcase how their programs would benefit students from diverse backgrounds who are not hand-picked.