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Section A: General News


Editorial: Should parents have choice in children’s education?




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About politics and other things
January 30, 2013 | 2,098 views | 20 comments

Parents should be the primary educators of their children; perhaps not the primary teachers of chemistry or physics, but they should be responsible for teaching their children the basics, such as learning good manners, developing decision-making skills, and knowing right from wrong.

Yet, a struggle continues between government authority and parental control. Hillary Clinton said it takes a village to raise a child. Many educators, and some parents who are only too eager to abdicate whatever responsibility they can to the state, would agree. Other parents fight for the right to control their child’s education and, thus, their destiny.

Some children thrive in a public school setting, but others could benefit from the smaller classrooms and greater attention offered in a private school setting. It should be a parent’s right to choose what’s best for their child.

Unfortunately, the choice is limited now to those parents who are financially able to afford private school. After paying all the expenses associated with raising children, plus paying their share of public school taxes, most parents simply cannot afford private school tuition.

It is ironic that many of those making the rules can and do choose private schools for their own children, yet are unsympathetic to those parents who would like a little tax relief in order to send their youngsters to a private school. Instead, the poorer kids are doomed to whatever public school, based on their zip code.

Parents need a choice, and legislation being considered in Austin would provide parents with that choice. Unfortunately, this has become a political hot potato. Taxpayer Savings Grants or the Texas Corporate Tax Credit Scholarship Program will not break the back of the public schools, so why are public schools so vehemently against it?

If a student is transferred using the tax credit or voucher, the public school still keeps a good portion of the funding for that student, even though they have one less student to educate. Besides, money is not everything. We know private schools can do more with less. Private schools also can more easily navigate through rules and regulations, because they have fewer layers of bureaucracy.

Private schools, contrary to what some argue, do not “pick and choose their parents and kids.” Quite the opposite is true.

For the most part, it is the parents who are selecting the schools. I don’t know of any private school that goes after certain students to the exclusion of others. In fact, quite often, the small private schools are ready and willing to accept those students who, for whatever reason, may have fallen through the cracks in the public school system.

Private schools may not have to adhere to all the rigorous demands of standardized testing, but that’s a good thing. Standardized testing in Texas is weighing down the system, but that’s just the way it works. Private schools do have their own standards to meet, and by no means are their standards any less demanding.

An argument often made by opponents of school choice is that the government does not require the same testing measures from private schools as they do of public schools; therefore, they question who determines whether or not private schools are performing up to standard.

Parents make the determination. Parents can speak with their wallets. If a school is not performing, they choose another school. This is a choice that all parents should have, but this is a battle over funds and control. Public schools are fearful of losing precious tax dollars. A few less dollars in public schools would not break the system, but it would take a little adjusting. In the long run, it would encourage competition and everyone would benefit.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
squawk box  
Pandora, Tx  
March 13, 2013 2:37pm
 
Making the choice. With your on hand experience, do you think this program could be adapted to very small groups ? Maybe one parent could take one grade with three or four children in the same grade and so on. Maybe have ... More ›

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
March 12, 2013 11:41am
 
I looked up the http://txva.com site and it's quite interesting. I sent an inquiry and someone called back. Very good information.

 
Making the choice  
St. Hedwig  
March 12, 2013 11:26am
 
The one caveat to the virtual network opportunity is that someone has to be home with the child to be a learning coach. You cannot expect the child to sit at home by themselves and go to school, the curriculum is not set up that ... More ›

 
Alvin Charmaine  
March 10, 2013 7:47pm
 
So the question is- if the state gave out a $4k voucher to every single kid, would they recieve a quality education? I think this dialogue shows that the answer is yes.

 
Making the choice  
St. Hedwig  
March 10, 2013 4:04pm
 
He is almost 12 and is in 6th grade. He enjoys the fact he does not have to wait for others to finish before he can move on. The schedule is already set for him each day but he has the flexibility to change it up if he wants ... More ›

 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
March 10, 2013 3:33pm
 
Thank you for the information about the Texas Virtual Network. I think this is something more parents should know about. How old is your son and in what grade?

 
Making the choice  
St. Hedwig  
March 10, 2013 3:27pm
 
Pulled my son out of the brick and mortar at the start of this school year for various reasons, most of them I considered a complete and utter waste of my taxpayer money. Put him in the Texas Virtual Network Public Charter School, ... More ›

 
Alvin Charmaine  
March 9, 2013 5:31pm
 
Public schools cost too much. The government wastes too much money. $8k per student per year is ridiculous. There are too many administrators. Too many districts. Too much overhead. They have to have their budgets reduced ... More ›

 
Chief Noetall  
Wise, Texas  
March 9, 2013 1:48pm
 
Want to improve schools.....have all educators serve a ten year apprenticeship in a real world job before entering the classroom. Let those that can, teach.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
March 8, 2013 5:15pm
 
I just scanned a report on private schools vs public schools in grades 4 and 8. This survey reported on reading and math scores. The private schools scored higher in both categories. The Catholic and Lutheran religious ... More ›

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