This week should not pass without acknowledging that it is “National School Choice Week.” This is the week described by its proponents as a way to shine a “positive spotlight on the need for effective education options for all children.” By this, these folks usually mean charter schools and vouchers.
The truth, however, is that evidence shows that these are not effective options at all. Nationally, the majority of charters either perform about the same as or worse than traditional public schools. The news is no better with vouchers. In places that have had vouchers the longest, public school students actually outperform students who receive private school vouchers on proficiency exams.
Even more fascinating than the illusion of choice that is being celebrated is the fact that there are people without choices when it comes to public education. The North Carolina General Assembly is constitutionally mandated, meaning they have no choice but to support the traditional public schools.