In preparation for school choice week, the National School Choice Awareness Foundation released a new poll showing what school-related decisions parents are making in the wake of Covid.
The poll’s results suggest that parents are tired of waiting for elected officials to “do something” about the sad state of the public schools. Instead, parents are overwhelmingly drifting toward school choice, seeking options that will best fit the educational needs of their children.
The first shocker is detailed in the image below. Over 70% of parents considered new schools for their children in 2023—up from 52% in 2022. That’s a huge increase. Clearly parents have seen enough and they’re desperate to try something new.
Even more surprising to some, however, may be the fact that black parents are most likely of all demographics to consider a new school (76%) and even make the jump to enroll their children in new schools (47%).
Why would that be surprising to some? Because recently, those opposed to school choice have been trying to frame the issue as a racist move, one that diminishes diversity and promotes inequality.
Such was the recent assertion by the Chicago Board of Education seeking to dismantle the school choice options in their city. “Leaders said it is built on a foundation of structural racism and makes inequality worse,” a recent article from WBEZChicago explained. Incidentally, that same article told the tale of two black mothers, one who sent her child to a traditional public school—and is now wondering if her daughter is getting challenged—and another who used the choice system and is loving the classical school her daughter enrolled in.
The school choice = racism talking points are also getting taken up by a teacher union-backed group as we head into School Choice Week, a fact detailed by Corey DeAngelis in a recent Twitter/X post:
Given the numbers discovered above, it seems that those who try to equate school choice with racism are barking up the wrong tree. In fact, given that minority parents are overwhelmingly looking for new education options for their children, one could even suggest that those who seek to prevent them from having those choices are the real racists.
Parents aren’t dumb. You can call them racist if you want, but the reality is that they know what their children need and they know their children aren’t getting those needs met in the traditional district schools to which their children are forced to go.
Racism aside, the real truth is that we need school choice for every parent and child if we’re to keep ourselves free from tyranny.
“A public-school system, in itself, is indeed of enormous benefit to the race. But it is of benefit only if it is kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely free possibility of the competition of private schools,” Princeton professor J. Gresham Machen wrote a century ago. “A public-school system, if it means the providing of free education for those who desire it, is a noteworthy and beneficent achievement of modern times; but when once it becomes monopolistic it is the most perfect instrument of tyranny which has yet been devised.”
Let’s keep pushing against that tyranny by pursuing school choice.
Image Credit: StockSnap