Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Even Public School Choice Works

The Center for Education Reform reports on a new study of Minnesota's public school choice laws conducted by Penn. State University and the University of Minnesota.

A new study of four public school choice programs in Minnesota finds that opponent's claims of harm to public schools are baseless and that these programs have spurred improvement for both students and the system. The study, "What Really Happened? Minnesota's Experience with Statewide Public School Choice Programs" finds that the number of students involved in one of the four major choice programs (open enrollment, charter schools, Second Chance options and Post-Secondary Enrollment Options) represents about 30 percent of all secondary students. Findings also show that the growth rate of these programs has outpaced the growth rate of the state's overall K-12 student population, 1300 percent to 17 percent. In the study long-standing predictions about the creation of elite academies, re-segregation, creaming, and lack of innovation are shown to be inaccurate.

I've always said that reorganizing public schools by open-enrollment and dropping the residential requirements would be a vast step forward in school choice for all parents. And public schools couldn't complain that they were being abandoned or that public dollars were going to (gasp, horrors) the private sector.

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