Education / U.S. Domestic Policy

Customizable Education

As U.S. math and science scores compared to those around the world continue to stay below average in 2013, changes must be made in order to prevent students in the U.S. from falling even farther behind students from other countries around the world.

It has never been more important for changes to be made to the U.S. education system. School choice is one great example of a program that the U.S. can expand if the U.S. test scores are to get better.

School choice is when parents have the opportunity to take the money that the state would spend on their child’s education and choose the school that their children attend. No matter if public, private, charter or online, the parents can pick any school that they see fit for their children’s education.

The program especially helps students in low-income families that would not be able otherwise be able to afford certain schools. It also gives parents the choice over where their children are educated instead of leaving it all up to the state. School choice personalizes education for students instead of a one-size-fits-all attitude that education in America often seems to have.

School choice has already helped thousands of students improve the quality of education they receive and empower students to continue to improve, work harder and stay in school. In a recent study of the Washington D.C. voucher program, students that used the system were 21 percent more likely to graduate than their counterparts that were not selected to use the program.

School choice prevents student from low income areas from being forced to attend lower-quality schools and instead gives their parents the ability to choose how their children are educated no matter if it is in public schools, private schools, virtual education, home school or charter schools.

Some opponents of the school choice argue that these programs will negatively affect students in public schools both financially and academically. Evidence shows that school choice does not have a negative fiscal impact for students or school districts and in fact in some cases saves money. It has also been demonstrated that school choice does not have any real impact on students that stay in public school and even in some cases their performances improve.

The state of Arizona has piloted a new program called: Education Savings Accounts. The idea is that parents receive a debit card with 90 percent of the funds that go toward their students education, and with those funds the parents decide how to spend these funds for their kids education whether it be for private school tuition, book, online classes or tutoring.

The program, originally for disabled students, has now spread to include poor students and students in active military families. Programs like these are the future of the American education system.

If lawmakers would like to see U.S. test scores climb up the ranks from below average around the world then the time to revolutionize the American education system is now.