The third post in a series, here is the second of the top ten school choice myths we hear often:
Myth Number 2: Educational Choice will leave the most disadvantaged and difficult-to-educate students in the public school system.
Although some disaffected parents or hard-to-reach students will always exist, educational choice programs have proven to be part of the solution. Many parents feel helpless if their neighborhood public school isn’t the right fit for their child. Most lower-income families or students with with special needs never imagine private school as an option. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) would empower and motivate these families for the first time. Iowa’s private schools welcome and successfully educate many students with special needs and circumstances. Iowa’s private schools want to welcome more disadvantaged and hard-to-reach children, but family income and lack of funding from state and federal sources for these students attending anything other than a public school make that challenging. Iowa is currently working on ensuring federal title funding reaches nonpublic school students and ESAs would go a long way in continuing to open doors for these children to succeed. We have yet to find an example of tax credit programs, vouchers, ESAs, or other choice programs decreasing diversity or emptying public schools of the “easy” or “good” kids. In fact, choice programs increase opportunities for all students and help public schools by sharing the work.
Research shows that participants in tax credit scholarship programs, vouchers, and ESAs tend to be the most academically behind and that, given time, they tend to outperform their peers when afforded the opportunity to learn in the environment that best meets their needs.
We should celebrate that the very purpose and nature of public schools is to provide an education to all children who enter their doors, even the hardest cases. That’s why they are there! Iowans should be grateful for that! Let’s let Iowa’s private schools help alleviate some of the demand for special needs services by opening up options for these students. Everyone wins.
Interested in diving into all ten myths? You can read the full article here. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest developments in our effort to ensure every child has access to the educational environment that best meets their needs.