Regarding your last point about choice, evidence shows that many public schools are indeed successful. Public schools are not a de facto bad choice, except to those whose agenda is the elimination of the public sector on ideological grounds.
Although true…..I think it worth mentioning that if you peruse the US News list of best High Schools in America (public) , and eliminate all the charters and magnets, that list is almost exclusively made up of high schools in high income white suburbs.
Public schools have a real problem in delivering educational equality; up and down the public school scale, you the most successful schools highly correlated with the average annual income of the student’s family; and since in the US, average annual income is highly correlated with race……..
And that’s on THEM to solve. The School Choice movement, if you look for a perspective OTHER than the one from the liberal left and religious right, provides the potential to deliver educational equality to the communities who need it the most.
Here’s a list of the best high schools in Texas, just to illustrate. Let;s analyze the top 25:
None of those schools are standard, geographically zoned schools; the top geographical school is #27, which is Highland Park in Dallas, which is an extremely affluent area. All of the rest are either magnets, which skim the best students from the general district population without regard (in theory) for race, or charters — and the majority of those charters are TARGETED to serve at-risk minority students. (The only ones on that list, to my knowledge, that *don’t* target at-risk students are the ones run by the Harmony chain; the IDEA schools, the YES Prep schools, and KIPP are all designed to serve the at-risk communities who are underserved by the public school system.
As I watch this national debate unfold, I suspect that *MANY* who have decided to be opponents of “school choice” have no idea how many top performing charters they’d be ripping out of their own communities if they have their way.