Now Added to Parental Pressure: School Choice
You never stop really worrying about your children right? It starts the moment you see those two pink lines on the stick. In hindsight I recognize that in womb worrying is only a low level threat to my sanity. Then, the worrying is confined to a healthy brain, ten fingers and toes. No sooner than they arrive the worrying cranks up at least a thousand levels: breast milk or formula, Huggies or Pampers, which car sear is the best…and that’s only the beginning. Once my oldest reached school age then a loss of sleep type worry began to set in. In this day and time finding a school is like buying great real estate – location, location, location. All schools are not the same. Some schools have bigger budgets (mostly due to property taxes), highly qualified teachers (again due to property taxes) and an out with the old in with the new approach to teaching and learning. Now this is not to say that schools with a starving budget and traditional teaching don’t fare well. In some cases these schools are running circles around the bigger budget schools. But, this is usually the exception – not the rule. Given the odds, no parent wants to send their child to a school with a budget and test scores that are in the ground. In a way school choice helps to ease the worry over sending children to schools parents feel are less than par. No longer are parents forced to send their child to the school around the corner from the house. Most states have “Choice’ programs where parents can opt to send their children to another school within the district - a school they deem better. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that:
- From 1993 to 2007, the percentage of children attending a "chosen" public school (a public school other than their assigned public school) increased from 11 to 16 percent.
- A greater percentage of Black students (36 percent) attended a chosen public school than their White (20 percent) and Hispanic (26 percent) peers.
However, only 9% of parents in the U.S. are completely satisfied with the quality of education students receive. It’s no wonder, as school choice can’t fix everything. Applying to a school out of your child’s zone does not guarantee acceptance. Many school choice programs run a lottery. Additionally school choice is only advantageous for students who have parents that have the resources to comply with school choice rules. For instance, where I live if you choice your child to a school outside of their designated zoned school you have to provide transportation – which means to and from. Choosing a school for the kiddos, whether it’s kindergarten or college, for our family is a serious decision. We do not believe that a school is a school is a school is a school. Thankfully, having a school ‘choice’ somewhat places my worry for the kiddos at a lower level – somewhat.
Does your family participate in school choice? Do you like it?