Argumentative Essay

Submitted By Reynolds3d
Words: 1224
Pages: 5

Dawn Reynolds
Professor Miller
Eng 104
5, July 2008
The Negative Effects of the School Choice Program

“The school choice program is a directive of the No Child Left Behind Act, which was passed in December 2001 by a bipartisan coalition led by President bush and Senator Ted Kennedy” (Snell 36). The school choice program allows families to expand educational options by transferring their children to a public school outside of their home district. The school choice program is ineffective and is not benefiting the children in the failing schools or in the choice schools. The lack of response to the school choice program is now apparent and is showing that parents are reluctant to upset routines and friendships by moving their children across town. Since the school choice program was implemented, less than two percent of parents nationwide have transferred their children to other public schools (Snell 36). The low transfer rates prove parents do not want more choices and they prefer their local schools. Transfers are also being refused because the better schools are already at capacity. In Boston, surrounding suburban districts have a waiting list of over 12,000 kids because receiving schools say they don’t have enough space to accept more children (Petersen 214). The school choice program began in 1996 in Michigan. Since the implementation of the school choice program in the Western School District in Jackson, Michigan, the classroom sizes have increased from 20-22 students per classroom to 26-28 students. Due to this jump in classroom size, the students have less one-on-one time with their teacher. The teachers now have six to eight more students and as a result are more stressed and have more of a workload. The competition for extra curricular activities and sports has increased which could jeopardize the chance of a student who lives in the district from getting a spot on the team. The families that live in the Western School District pay higher taxes so that their children are ensured a better education with Western being one of the better schools in Jackson County. Now that school choice program has been implemented anyone can apply for their child to transfer to the Western School District. Transportation is another issue for parents and students who are enrolled in the school choice program. Many of the students who transfer don’t live very close to the schools, so their parents are driving them back and forth to school every day. They also have to drive them to all the extra curricular activities and sporting events. Even though this is a choice by the parents, it puts a burden on the parents, especially due to the raising gas prices and it also takes away time from the entire family. Given the choice between the low-performing school and the school ten miles away, parents may choose to stick to the path of least resistance (Peterson 214). The school choice program can also create a burden for schools that are losing students that are being transferred to other districts. For the 1998-99 school year, Jackson Public Schools budgeted for a loss of $1.1 million in state funding, due to an expected loss of 200 students. Early projections based on actual student transfers, however, caused the school board to revise its estimated losses to over 540 students, which created an additional budget shortfall of $2 million (Education Report). The money being spent for the school choice program could be used to fix the failing schools so that all children can have a chance at a better education, not just the transferred students. The purpose of the program has good intentions and for many of the children transferring to the better school districts it is helping them get a better education. In addition to helping participating children, the program introduces competition into public school systems, which can drive public schools to improve performance or risk loosing students (Lips and