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The school choice movement has been in existence for more than eighteen years in the U.S. Since then the concept has not rested well but continued to generate contentious debate and from anti school choice's point of view has even greatly divided the American people into a wide spectrum in one hand.
Proponents of school choice, on the other hand, continue to celebrate its milestones and considered 2011 as the Year of the School Choice. This year 2011 showcases the school choice accomplishments such as eighteen (18) states and Washington, D. C. which successfully came up with policies favoring private school choice; forty-six (46) states issued policies allowing public-school choice; and forty-one (41) states and the District of Columbia started or passed pro-school choice legislations.
It could be gleaned from school choice activists that their movement and state policies and legislations grew from their conformance to Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that the right of choice on the type of education for children lies on the parents' hands.
So, what really is the concept of a school of choice? Based on the U.S. political highly heated discussion, it simply means programs that would make public funds available to private schools. Remember that parents have been provided with the option of choosing the private school of their choice as long as their budget allows it.
This drove states to issue policies and enact legislative documents in support of the school choice by formulating and implementing more or expanded educational options to parents for their children. Because of these affirmative actions on the part of the government at the state level, they are veering away from government's exclusive support to public schools and giving more control to the parents as well as creating more educational prospects to children as these programs have been continuously crafted or refined for them to ensure their brighter future.
To look more deeply into this concept, the choice of the school happens when children go to an educational institution outside of the assigned schools within a geographical location they belong. Programs under this concept are varied ranging from the laws on open enrolment for other public, non-public, charter and magnet schools, and college level; tuition tax credit; tax removals for learning-related expenditures; school vouchers and additional services for education; and homeschooling to mention a few. Charter school choices may include, but not limited to, those which are enjoying autonomy or those which are electronically dependent ones which are also popularly referred to as virtual charter school. Legislations to support tax for school choice are either favorable to the parents and/or to the school.
State governments have their own versions of these programs which are either similar or distinct or both. From these programs that promote and supplement school choice, parents and their children become the decision-makers since they are the stakeholders, their selection of schools and programs are widened, and the interests and well-being of the children are protected because the public school system has been challenged to excel rather than be complacent, mediocre or simply be a failure in their vision, mission and goals.
Restrictions on the part of the parents to give their children a better educational venue brought by economic difficulties are faced head on by the school choice. This is opening an equal opportunity for low or middle income families to be selective of a better school they perceived as the appropriate one for their kids' holistic development.
The school choice, as a policy and legislative agenda, truly puts premium and recognition of the pivotal role that parents responsibly play in their children's education by placing in their hands the genuine ownership of exercising their right over their children.