One of the most unfortunate and counterproductive consequences of the winner-take-all tone of the current debate over public school choice is that very real and very complicated issues get ignored in substance and turned into sound-bites. The result is bad policy and bad practice.
Equitable access to transportation is a good example. Paul Teske’s research has shown that lack of transportation can be a significant obstacle to school choice for low- and moderate-income families. Teske found that “a little over one-quarter of respondents (and one-third of those with the lowest incomes) did not enroll their child in the school they preferred due to transportation difficulties.”
Fortunately, rather than engage in political mud-slinging about these kinds of challenges, the folks in Denver (of whom I am one) have embraced choice with equity and are tackling these hard issues head-on.
One Reply to “Nuance Needed”
Amen – I think Baltimore has an awful lot to offer here. Last year, 98% of middle and high students actively participated in school choice. Maybe I need a “new school year resolution” to write it up. In addition to transportation, I think the way choice has evolved here has created some great inclusion options for special ed kids.