Competition among different players in any given sector within a nation’s economy is essential in enhancing the effectiveness of the sector in question. This calls for the government to set up policies that pave the way for healthy competition within the parties in any given sector. Over the last two decades, several scholars in the United States have shown their concern in the adoption of such policies. They have advocated for the adoption of policies that employ the market forces as a tool towards the realization of bureaucracies and public agencies that are more efficient. Such policies also enhance such bodies to respond more effectively to the needs of the citizens or rather their customers.
Within the sector of K-12 education, the government adopted school choice as the tool that the educational sector would use to improve the completion among the schools within the nation. School choice encompasses a number of policies that allow the transfer of students from schools that they are assigned based on their area of residence (Linkow 430). Just as the name suggests, it enables students as well as parents to choose the school that best fits their educational interests. It also enhances students to move from public schools to private schools due to the provision of tuition vouchers to the students who make such a choice. School choice is an important tool towards the realization of not only a good educational sector but also a strong nation in all aspects.
School choice enhances the greater participation of parents in the education system. According to Schneider et al., parents, as well as students in the education sector, act as consumers as opposed to the notion that they are citizens that can only fit in the set rules and preferences of others e.g., administrators in the sector (86). On the contrary, they seek the best product within the market, which in this case, are the schools available for their children. The policy allows parents to find educational institutions that meet the academic needs of their children. Just like the customers in any other sector within the economy, the choice that a parent makes involves some crucial factors.
These factors include the investment of energy and time as well as money to enhance the realization of the product or rather school that best meets their needs (Rosenbloom 12). Due to such input, the parents tend to feel more responsible for the educational well-being of their children. Owing to this, parents gain a sense of ownership in the schooling of their children. Additionally, this increases their level of involvement in the needs of their children as well as the school of their choice. Research has shown that the involvement of parents in the education of their children has a positive impact not only on the students’ cognitive growth but also in their affective growth. It also increases the students’ morale in learning, thus improving their academic achievement(s).
Once parents choose a given school for their children, their input also helps in the development of the school as a whole. This is because all parents would want to be associated with a school that has a record of excellence. Thus, they would not be reluctant to assist the school administration in attaining their goals. For instance, some parents offer advisory services to the school’s administration geared towards achieving the common interests of all the parties in the school. Others offer support services to the schools to ensure that all the learning processes occur in an efficient manner. Highly involved parents help the school principals in implementing certain educational reforms. They also play a pivotal role in supporting the school principals to face the challenges in the educational sector. Generally, the involvement of parents in the education of their children is not only beneficial to the students but also the overall system of the school in question.
Despite the advantages of school choice to the academic society, it poses a threat to society through increasing racial segregation and the gap between different social classes. When given a chance to choose, most people tend to maintain their sense of belonging. The educational field is not exceptional when it comes to this. Children from families that support racial segregation will choose to attend schools where their race dominates. Additionally, children from affluent families in terms of income, as well as educational attainment, will always take advantage of the choice to evade their traditional public schools (Rosenbloom 10). In such cases, schools that have students from advantaged families continue to shine academically while their counterparts from poor families continue declining as far as academic performance is concerned.
This is because parents from the affluent social class are able to gather accurate information about the quality of education that different schools offer. Such information helps them to make informed decisions about the school that their children attend, thus end up enrolling their children in high-performing schools. On the other hand, low-income parents are not able to access most of the information required to make a well-informed decision about the schooling of their children. Such parents are associated with poor social networks that provide little or no accurate information about certain schools. Based on the information that they are able to acquire, the parents make a choice that best matches their academic preference.
The ultimate result is that the policy leads to the concentration of disadvantaged students in one set of schools while the advantaged ones cluster in a different set of schools (Raborsky 90). Owing to this, school choice propagates the increment of the gap between the rich and the poor in society. Additionally, the policy increases racial discrimination between different races based on the schooling of the children.
Although school choice increases social segregation in the two dimensions, it does not justify the abolition of the policy in K-12 education. Researchers argue that traditional public schools are the main tools in propagating social segregation, especially due to their location. In any case, school choice enhances the interaction of individuals from different races. The main concern of the parents and students in the academic field is to join schools that enhance the academic well-being of the students. As a result, the key participants (parents and children) are usually willing to overcome their social barriers to attain their goals as far as education is concerned.
This is evident, especially for students that live within poor neighborhoods who attend traditional public schools. Such schools lack certain important aspects as far as academic equipment is concerned. With the advent of school choice, students from such schools can move to other educational institutions that have all the equipment in place irrespective of the race of the other students in the school or even their economic background. School choice is thus a tool that prevents such students from being trapped in such underperforming public schools and racial cocoons. According to Raborsky, it paves the way for them to access better educational opportunities in good schools in other areas in the nation (92).
To some extent, this boosts the educational status of the people from humble neighborhoods since the children form such areas are able to obtain a quality education from other schools with more advantaged societies, especially with the provision of tuition vouchers. On the other hand, school choice improves the level of competition within the educational sector. The preference of students to join certain schools is pivotal in making the administrators in poorly performing public schools to look into new methods of boosting their performance. This is because of their quest to have more students choose their schools over others. Owing to this, the administrators of underperforming public schools are forced to adopt new methods that will attract more customers (parents and students) to their school.
The overall effect of such a step is the improvement of the level of education within the traditional public schools. Other than the effort of the heads of schools within poor neighborhoods to improve the academic performance of their schools, the government will tend to protect such schools from the adverse effect of the policy. The government will not only seek to increase the availability of essential educational tools in such schools but will also ensure that such schools get the best teachers to avoid any bias in the educational system. This will bridge the gap between the social classes in the nation since most of the schools will be able to attain all the necessary learning equipment.
In conclusion, a school choice is an important tool towards the realization of not only a good educational sector but also a strong nation in all aspects. It enhances the greater participation of parents in the educational affairs of their children. The involvement of parents in the education of their children is a form of social capital due to the benefits that come with it. As aforementioned, the involvement of parents is essential for not only the cognitive development but also the effective development of the student in question. They support not only their children but also the principals in the smooth running of schools.
Additionally, students from underperforming schools are able to gain access to quality education from good schools that are not within their area of residence. Additionally, school choice acts as a vehicle for both parents and students to overcome residential segregation. This results in the development of more diverse schools in terms of race and social background. Owing to this, schools act as a tool for eliminating the social bias associated with traditional public schools.
To attract more students to their schools, principals of underperforming schools look into ways of boosting the performance as well as the reputation of the schools. This results in the general improvement of such schools, which is crucial for the well-being of the educational sector. The quest for attaining the students’ educational goals surpasses the propagation of social and racial segregation within a nation. School choice is a fundamental tool in K-12 education for the well-being of all the major participants of the educational system: parents, students, schools, teachers, and the government.
Linkow, Tamara W.” Disconnected Reform: The Proliferation of School Choice Option in U.S School Districts.” Journal of School Choice 5.4(2011): 414-443. Print.
Raborsky, Thomas. “Deconstructing School Choice: Problems School or Problem Students?” Public Administration Review 71.1(2011): 87-95. Print.
Rosenbloom, Susan. “My so-called Choice: The Trappings of School Choice of Non-Admits.” Urban Review 12.1(2010): 1-21. Print.
Schneider, Mark, Teske, Paul, Marshall, Melissa, and Roch, Christine. “School Choice Builds Community.” Public Interest 129(1997): 86-90. Print.