“New data suggest that the damage from shutting down schools has been worse than almost anyone expected,” the Economist tweeted recently to promote a
The universe of private elementary-secondary schooling in America today is diverse and confusing, with innumerable twists and turns in efforts to use public funds to help families access schools that suit them—including private schools of all colors and stripes. But the virtue of these institutions is that they’re different, which also means very different from each other. Which complicates the quest to deploy public dollars to assist families to choose them.
Remote learning is hard to love. The nation’s forced experiment in online education the past few years has been a disaster for kids. Educators and parents alike have come to view virtual learning as a necessary evil at best, an ad hoc response to a national crisis.
Opponents of school choice regularly criticize private schools for not taking all comers, contrasting them with traditional public schools, which they claim are open to all. But that’s not true in many places, especially wealthier suburbs, where public schools are typically restricted to students who live within geographic boundaries. Attending them requires a hefty mortgage and property taxes or sky-high rents that are out of the reach of low- and middle-income families.
School choice is on the rise. In the last few decades, families have benefited from an explosion of educational options.
In many ways, the educational failures of the past several years—including those caused by the pandemic—were far worse than they needed to be because of long-standing characteristics of American public education. Namely, the tendency to place employees’ interests first, the disempowering of parents, and the failure to innovate.
Editor’s note: This essay was first published by The 74.
Among its many educational impacts, the pandemic has reenergized efforts to expand private school choice. States like Ohio, where it already existed, have expanded eligibility and increased funding.
Whether due to the pandemic, political opportunism, popular demand, or a combination, education savings accounts (ESAs) are enjoying much attention and growth
Last month, my colleagues Mike Petrilli and David Griffith had a conversation with Patrick Wolf, a leading school choice scholar at the University of Arkansas, about the impact of voucher programs on the Education Gadfly Show podcast.
Covid-19 school shock disrupted our way of doing education, unbundling the familiar division of responsibilities among home, school, and community organizations. Nearly every parent of school-age children had to create from scratch a home learning environment using online technology and rebundling school services to meet their needs.
The outlook has gotten bleak for the anti-racist and CRT movements in U.S. classrooms, as Americans saw these ideas in action and largely recoiled from them. But there's another K–12 strategy for achieving racial justice: school choice.
“Hi. Welcome to the future. San Dimas, California. 2688.” Rufus, played by George Carlin, thus opened the American film classic Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure by explaining that, in the distant future, everything is great. The water, air, and even the dirt is clean.
In the early days of the pandemic, I was dismissive of “new normal” talk about Covid’s long-term impact on schooling. There was good reason for skepticism.
I’ve long believed the best argument for school choice is to turn up the lights on what is possible when there’s room for a wide variety of schools, curricula, and cultures. Call it the When Harry Met Sally model.
“Never in my lifetime have so many parents been so eager for so much education change.” So said longtime pollster Frank Luntz after surveying 1,000 public and private school parents on how the pandemic affected their view of schools.
Public schools have long failed to serve adequately students with disabilities, but school closures, disastrous for the millions of children with special needs, may finally encourage a critical mass of parents to do something about it.
Earlier this month, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order encouraging federal agencies to undertake a series of initiatives aimed at increasing competition in the U.S. economy. But there’s a mismatch between his approach to competition in the private sector and his support for monopoly when it comes to public education.
As supporters of school choice celebrate a remarkable season of legislative wins across the country, they can also add some research-based evidence to their grounds for satisfaction.
If the pandemic vanished tomorrow and all U.S. schools instantly reopened in exactly the same fashion as they were operating last February, how many parents would be satisfied to return their daughters and sons to the same old familiar classrooms, teachers, schedules and curricula? A lot fewer than the same old schools and those who run and teach in them are expecting back!
The father testifying before Virginia’s Loudon County school board
A U.S. Supreme Court decision is introducing a new type of charter school that’s likely to cheer conservatives but alarm many progressives: the religiously-affiliated charter. Those of us in the charter movement need to figure out how to keep them from splitting the charter coalition.
Six months into the pandemic, the nation’s forced experiment in remote learning has resumed. But our education system’s design is ill-suited to the unique quandaries posed by Covid-19. District officials continue to ask parents for grace and patience, and many have continued to oblige, but if current conditions persist into next year and beyond, demand for choice will almost certainly increase as a large number of parents keep their children at home.
The private schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, are breathing a sigh of relief that, after much sturm und drang this past week, they’re back in charge of their own decisions about whether and how to re-open.
On this week’s podcast, Michael McShane, the director of national research at EdChoice, joins Mike Petrilli to discuss how Catholic scho
Editor’s note: This blog post was first published by Partnership Schools.