Saturday, April 1, 2017

The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story - The Washington Post

The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story - The Washington Post:

The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story


President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos say their primary focus in education policy will be to expand school choice, providing alternatives to traditional public schools. DeVos has been clear about her view of traditional public schools, calling them “a dead end” in 2015 and this past week saying that student outcomes at U.S. schools are so bad that she isn’t  “sure how they could get a lot worse.”
Though championed by Trump and DeVos, school choice is highly controversial around the country. Choice supporters say that parents have a right to send their children to any school they want and the public should pay for it, especially for those families fleeing troubled traditional public schools. Supporters of the traditional system say that charter and voucher schools don’t on average perform any better than public schools, and often do worse; are not held to the same standards; are not transparent about their operations; often pick and choose the students they want; and drain vital resources from traditional schools that accept all students.
For those who support school choice, Arizona is seen as a big success, with virtual schools; hundreds of charter schools. which are funded by the public but operated privately; magnet schools; and private and religious schools, which enroll students with public dollars made available through tax credit and voucher-like programs. Some 20 percent of Arizona’s students are educated through school choice programs, most of them in charter schools.
This telling essay details an Arizona parent’s story about trying to wade through the “choice” system to find the right school for her daughter. She is Patricia MacCorquodale, a sociologist and professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on women’s careers in science, engineering and legal professions, gender and human sexuality and educational aspirations and achievement. She stepped down last year as the inaugural dean of the Honors College at the University or Arizona. MacCorquodale  is also a Tucson Public Voices Fellow with the Op-Ed Project.
By Patricia MacCorquodale
My adventure with school choice began with a search for a school for our daughter entering first grade.
I started at a highly regarded private elementary school. Armed with a list of questions, I went to the school, toured the facility, visited a classroom and met with the principal. She assured me that they had plenty of spaces open in first grade and suggested that I bring my daughter to The masquerade of school choice: a parent’s story - The Washington Post:

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