The Heritage Foundation
The third annual National School Choice Week is officially underway. Once again, school choice advocates—including parents, teachers, schoolchildren and administrators, and many others—will come together to promote educational choice, with more than 3,600 events taking place nationwide.
School choice is something to celebrate, because it gives families the power to choose the best schools for their children—helping children to improve educational outcomes and increasing overall parental satisfaction.
School Choice Students Graduate at Higher Rates
For example, students who participate in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP)—a private school voucher program for low-income K-12 students—graduate at significantly higher rates than their peers, according to the results of a “gold standard” (randomized, control group) study. More than 90 percent of DCOSP students graduate high school, compared to just 70 percent of their peers.
Similarly, research reveals that students who participate in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP)—the nation’s longest running school choice program—for all four of their high school years had a 94 percent graduation rate, compared to a 75 percent graduation rate for their peers who attended four years of public high school.
School Choice Means Academic Gains
Research also shows that students who participate in school choice programs do better in school. In a review of all the “gold standard” evaluations of school choice programs in the United States, researchers found that nine of the 10 studies revealed positive, albeit generally modest, academic improvement for school choice students.
Parents Are More Satisfied with their Child’s Academic Experience
Parents of school choice students also report high levels of satisfaction with their children’s schools. In Florida, 93 percent of parents whose children participate in the McKay Scholarship Program—a voucher program for special-needs students—report being satisfied with their child’s school, compared to just 33 percent of parents whose special-needs children were enrolled in public schools. DCOSP parents are also more likely to report satisfaction with their children’s schools and are more likely to describe their schools as safe. And Milwaukee school choice parents also report high satisfaction rates with the schools their children attend.
Education comes in many forms—from private school choice to online learning, to charter schools and public schools and home schooling. Parents should be empowered to give their children the education that best meets their child’s unique learning needs. School choice makes this possible by giving families from every background the ability to set the course for the brightest educational future for their children.
This week, find out how you can get involved in National School Choice Week.
Rachel Sheffield is a research associate in the DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.