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"School choice" in Dallas means something entirely different from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the school reformers' version of school choice. DeVos and The Reformers are championing the type of school choice that will decimate public education and ultimately harm the students and families they claim to want to help the most.
On the other hand, Dallas ISD is offering true choice to every student and, in many instances, choice comes in the form of a neighborhood school or nearby campus.
Gone are the days when the only viable choice in Dallas ISD was one of the high-performing magnet schools. DISD has set a goal to be the district of choice for students within its attendance boundaries and has made steady progress over the last few years to make existing neighborhood campuses more attractive.
The portfolio of choices includes magnet schools, transformation and innovation campuses, dual language programs, single-gender campuses and collegiate academies. These special campuses and programs received more than 13,000 applications during this year's application window. This signals that Dallas residents are recognizing opportunities DISD offers.
The education reform version of school choice contends that many neighborhood schools are failing families and the only viable option is to create a voucher system to allow students the choice to pay for a private school with taxpayer dollars.
In reality, vouchers or education savings accounts, as well as the expansion of charter schools, will help usher the decline and ultimate decimation of the neighborhood school and the local independent school district.