Student Voice: Why I Support School Choice

Published January 23, 2012

In honor of National School Choice Week, School Reform News has asked students to speak out about why they support school choice. Here’s Jason’s take. To find a school choice event near you, visit NSCW’s website

As a firm believer in the superiority of freedom over coercion, it is evident to me that an educational system in which three-quarters of the students attend schools assigned by their geographic location is flawed. Every child is different and deserves a school suited to them, regardless of where they live. Without options, there is little safeguard against failing schools. School choice programs allow a wide variety of schools to prosper and serve the needs of students instead of entrenched bureaucrats.

America should be aiming to be the best country in the world in every possible way, and simply being ranked as “average” against the other OECD nations is sorely disappointing. The solutions that have been sought for the last 40 years are ineffective. Since 1970, total expenditures by governments on public schools have more than doubled, ballooning from about $272 billion to $592 billion in 2009 (adjusted for inflation). In spite of that, scores on the Nation’s Report Card have never significantly changed since its first assessment in 1969.

Public schools clearly have sufficient funding. We must seek alternative solutions.

As a student active in politics, I am well aware how long it can take for reform to work through the legislature, go into effect, and then produce results. When I eventually have children, I want the nation’s schools to have improved significantly from the state they were in while I was a student, and I want the freedom to choose from numerous schooling options for my child.

It is crucial to me that school choice legislation passes now. For generations to come, increased school choice will benefit all.

Jason Russell ([email protected]) is a junior double-majoring in economics and political science at the University of Rochester. 


Image by Tulane Public Relations.