The Valley News published an excellent column about school choice by early mover and vice chair of the Croydon school board, Dr. Jody Underwood.
“One fact that Nelson does get right is that if children leave inadequate public schools, those schools will lose some of their funding. That sounds bad, but consider the same argument stated in a different way: We should prevent children from leaving failing schools because those schools need the money. In this view, children exist for the sake of public schools, rather than public schools existing for the sake of children.
In the end, Nelson’s argument can be reduced to this: School choice may lead to some bad outcomes for some people, so we must resist it. The competing argument is that school choice will certainly create some wonderful outcomes for some people, so we should pursue it. Viewed this way, the debate over school choice is about whether we will choose to focus on fear or hope — that is, on what might go wrong, or on what will go right. It is about whether we will let fear compel us to cling to models of schooling from the 19th century, or whether hope will spur us to embrace the chance to let education move forward into the 21st century. Personally, I believe that John F. Kennedy was wise to counsel that ‘we should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes’.”