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The Other Side of Parental Choice

So much of the discussion about public education today involves parental choice.  It's all too easy to believe that it represents salvation.  But the truth is that choice always comes with a price ("Top 10 Reasons School Choice Is No Choice," The Huffington Post, Feb. 18).

The price is embodied in students whose parents are not involved in their education for one reason or another.  As a result, whatever options are open to them are never taken advantage of.  That means such students remain in the same underperforming schools that their more fortunate peers have escaped from.  In an ideal world, all neighborhood public schools would be so attractive that few, if any, parents would want to enroll their children elsewhere.  But that's not the case.

That's why I support parental choice.  I know few parents who are willing to sacrifice their own children's education on an ideological altar.  Ethicists emphasize that parents have a responsibility to do what is best for their own children while at the same time they have a duty to fight for others who are less fortunate.  I agree with that argument.

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The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner's Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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