School choice is a great idea in theory — allowing academically driven kids the option of pursuing a more fulfilling and rigorous curriculum is commendable.
However, the consequences are steeped in inadequate educational standards, classism and systematic oppression.
Students should not have to attend a magnet school, miles out of the way, to receive a competent education. The fact that this is even a topic of discussion shows that our schools are failing our students and falling shamefully behind national standards for education.
The fault in school choice is that it’s almost the only choice for anyone looking to excel academically.
Were we to invest money in subsidizing tuition and transportation to private schools in the region, it’s valid to think that some, potentially many, students would be helped, but it’s a matter of which students.
Even with subsidies alleviating some of the burden, only the most privileged and determined students with willing and able parents would be able to take advantage of it, leaving the students who need it most without that opportunity. This would exacerbate the existing, systematic oppression of the poor and widen the gap between the middle class and the poverty-stricken for generations to come.
Removing well-off kids with strong support from their families from a struggling school will leave the rest of the school to plunge further into academic ineptitude.
Without the benefit of positive student relationships, good role models and positive peer pressure, classroom behavior and grades will further deteriorate along with patron donations, PTA support and standardized test scores.
Instead of investing money in school choice subsidies, invest money in teachers, student resources, adequate facilities and extracurricular activities.
Erase the need for school choice and improve our city for generations to come by leaving no student behind and helping Charleston succeed not only as a school district, but as a stronger, more egalitarian community.
College of Charleston