With the increasing demand for better schools, states and communities are providing more options to families. By doing so, they are not only improving educational opportunities for children, but also having a dramatic impact on how schools operate. school choice options are: publicly funded school choice program, charter schools, magnet school and private scholarship programs. Armed with the evidence of the success that these programs can generate, particularly for disadvantaged children, state lawmakers are addressing education reform with new vigor.
Why school choice? Two reasons: excellence and accountability. Parents want academic excellence for their children. They also want to know that there is someone in their child’s school who is accountable for achieving those high academic standards. Under a school choice plan, a parent would have options. There would be consequences for a school’s poor performance. Parents could pull their children out of poorly performing schools and enroll them someplace else. If exercising this option leads to a mass exodus from certain underachieving schools, schools will learn this painful lesson: schools will either improve, or close due to declining enrollments.
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The term “school choice” covers a multitude of student assignment places that vary significantly in their underlying assumptions and operational procedures. Although there is a great variety of school choice plans, a few major types can be identified. They are Intradistrict, Interdistrict, Magnet Schools, Postsecondary options, Second-Chance Schools, Charter Schools, Voucher Plans and Tuition tax credits.
Intradistrict choice is a plan which allows students to choose schools within one public school district. Depending on the specific plan, the range of choice may include a few to all schools in a district.
Interdistrict choice is a plan which permits students to cross district lines to attend school. Tuition funds from the state follow the student and transportation costs are usually provided. Unlimited Interdistrict choice is equivalent to statewide open enrollment.
Magnet schools are public schools which offer specialized programs. They are generally designed and located so as to attract students to otherwise unpopular areas or schools, and are often created to promote racial balance.
Postsecondary options are programs which enable high school students to enroll in college courses at government expense. Program courses may contribute to high school graduation requirements as well as to their college programs.
Second-Chance options are alternative schools and program for student who have difficulties in standard public schools settings. Most often these student have either dropped out, are pregnant or parenting, have been assessed as chemically dependent, or have been expelled from their previous school.
Charter Schools are publicly sponsored autonomous schools. They are substantially free of direct administrative control by the government but are held accountable for achieving certain levels of student performance and other specified outcomes.
Voucher plans constitute a system of certificate or cash payments by the government which enables public schools students to attend schools of their choice, public or private. Vouchers have a fixed value and are redeemed at the time or enrollment.
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Tuition tax credits constitute a system of funding choice which allows parents to receive credit against their income tax to subsidize non-public school tuition of their children. Such a system is, by definition, intersectional.
With so many choices for parents and students out there today, there is no wonder that school choice is such a “hot topic”. Choice proposals today are aimed at helping children who are in most need. Few observers would disagree that public education in urban areas is in deep trouble, dropout rates hover above 25 percent, truancy is common, violence is a perpetual threats, students struggle for basic literacy, often without success, uninspired teaching and the physical conditions of most school border on the scandalous. With school choice, parents know that they have a guarantee; the school their child attend will flourish, or they will be given the opportunity to enroll their child in another school of their choice, one that works.
In closing, school choice is a major educational, political and social issue. Unlike many school reforms, choice has caught the public imagination and prompted policy makers to work with legislatures, business and educators. As a consequence, choice is a national movement, and, as such, is changing not only the way American education is organized, by how Americans think about education. The impact of the national effort on urban school reform has been significant because school choice has compelled educators and other education stakeholders to rethink and redesign how public schools are organized, evaluated and supported. As support for school choice has grown strong, so too has the evidence that parents with greater choice are more involved in their child’s schooling and prefer a higher standard of achievement for both their children and their chosen school.
References Used for Research