Megan Lail: Choice for all

November 3, 2013 

Regarding the Oct. 24 Point of View “Why school ‘choice’ is condemnation”: We don’t have to use Brown v. Board to get a history lesson on the effect of race and class on public education in North Carolina. It happens every day as kids wait yet another school year for adults to get it right.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of kids still can’t read, write or solve math problems at grade level. Many – most of whom are poor and minorities – are “condemned” to failing schools because critics care more about protecting institutions than serving students. Opponents say falsely that offering parents a choice will lead to “white flight.” In states with successful voucher programs, minority and working class parents were more likely to take advantage of them. Washington, D.C., and Florida have higher graduation rates and better student performance among these groups.

The writer plays to people’s fears by suggesting that “each year the income of households that qualify will steadily increase until vouchers become available to families that can actually afford the average private school.” Wealthy parents have always had access to school options. If the traditional school environment isn’t working for their children, they have the financial means to find a better fit. Shouldn’t all families, especially those in high-risk, low-income communities, have that choice?

Megan Lail

NCSU, Class of 2014

Raleigh

Cari Jeffries

UNC, Class of 2014

Chapel Hill

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