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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Loving School Choice

I’m a big supporter of vouchers, but, absent that, I wonder if “school choicing” (hate that term) will be the new norm over time? It’s a big step in the right direction--that is, the best way to hold any institution accountable for its performance is to be able to withhold funding at the end-user level. If the school isn’t doing the job, then move the dollars (along with the student) to a school that will do the job.

That’s a big win for parents and students. If the schools took it in the right spirit, it could also be a big win for the best teachers, the best administrators, and the best ideas.

Anyway, here’s this (which also highlights a problem with income inequity with open school enrollment throughout a district--a problem that I think is overblown):

In Denver Public Schools, 41 percent of the district’s estimated 75,000 students attend a school other than one in their attendance area, up from 34 percent in 2004.

The numbers of DPS students “choicing” into schools continues to rise as the district’s diversification of school programs continues.

Among Denver’s 140 schools, there are 21 charters, five dual-language schools, three arts-focused schools, 11 with an international theme, three science-oriented schools, two expeditionary learning schools and six Montessori schools.

“Our goal is in every neighborhood in every part of the city to have high-quality choices,” said Tom Boasberg, DPS superintendent.

DPS is a big, diverse district with all sorts of institutional problems. It has been working hard for a number of years now, though, to address those problems and I like a lot of the changes that they’ve made.

Here’s to choice.

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