Giving Compass’ Take:
•School choice may be a good idea in theory, but for parents of low-income students who do not have the time to research schools or mobilize their networks, they often do not utilize the power of choice that those schools want to give them.
• How can schools encourage parents to research future schools before they attend or at least make the information easily accessible?
• Another point to mention about school choice is that it only works if parents have good options.
The Trump administration’s fundamentalism about school choice is problematic in its core premise, which is something like: If parents are offered a variety of schools, they’ll choose a good one. And if it turns out not to be good, they’ll leave for a better match.
And while some parents — typically more affluent ones — spend time researching options and mobilizing their social networks for information, most do not. In choosing schools, children from low-income homes and immigrants often rely on the haphazard advice of siblings and friends or they do it alone.
“The most striking pattern in Latin American immigrant parents’ responses was the pervasive reference made to the belief that ‘there are no bad schools, only the students inside the schools are bad’… [One father said], ‘there are good teachers and bad teachers, but in my opinion it is up to the kids.’
What it doesn’t do is reflect how most families select schools, nor does it begin to contemplate why more choices would change that — how it would overcome cultural, ethnic, educational, class, and value obstacles in order to provide the information poor parents badly need.
The Education Department has a proof-of-concept problem. The unfettered marketplace it envisions may create great possibilities for children whose parents can master it, but so does every other system.
Read the source article about parents’ school choice by David Cantor at The 74
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