Opinion
School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor

‘School Choice’ Is Not a Neutral Descriptor

January 17, 2017 1 min read
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To the Editor:

As a matter of editorial policy, please stop using the misleading descriptor “school choice” in your reporting, unless you’re quoting someone or you put the term itself in quotation marks.

“School choice” is not a neutral term. So-called “school choice” diverts taxpayers’ money from public school systems to private, for-profit institutions, which only accept and retain students of their choosing, and whose governance is not elected by the taxpayers. The term is most often used by detractors of public education to create the illusion that the only way parents and students can have a range of program options is to go outside of the public school system.

As a descriptor, “school choice” ignores the reality of the wide range of excellent public charters within school systems across the country. It also fails to acknowledge the constriction of program options that public school systems can offer when their funding is siphoned off for private use, often leaving families with fewer, and less diverse, choices than before.

Instead, please consistently use “public money for private schools” or “privatization.” Each is only a bit longer, and a lot more accurate and unbiased.

Barb Clark

English Teacher

West Anchorage High School

Anchorage, Alaska

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A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2017 edition of Education Week as ‘School Choice’ Is Not a Neutral Descriptor

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