“Educational choice” sounds like an innocent idea. Dale Courtney, in his column on Jan. 18, presents this idea as a “win for parents.” However, it is really only a win for parents of students who attend private schools.
The Idaho Constitution requires the Idaho Legislature to “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” While there are clearly concerns statewide about how well Idaho has maintained those schools, the state has definitely developed a variety of schools in that system.
Parents already have a variety of choices for how to educate their children in public schools: traditional, online charter, in-person charter, career technical education, magnet schools, alternative schools, and even advanced opportunities to receive college credit while still in high school. The only addition to this list with the “school choice” movement is that students who attend private schools might receive money to cover their tuition. Proponents of this concept use the phrase “the money should follow the child” to justify their thinking.