School choice exists so every family can access and afford quality education for their children. When students attend public schools in a district without proper resources, they are at a significant disadvantage. With school choice, parents can give their children the resources they need in a charter, magnet, or private school.
If you’ve heard of school choice, you may know the many myths about its processes and outcomes. School choice programs are built to create a better educational system for all students, but some believe they do otherwise. As a public charter school, we at Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) share school choice facts to dispel common rumors.
7 Common School Choice Myths Debunked
At CCA, we have seen firsthand how public charter school choice can help students. We have debunked seven school choice myths so you can make an informed decision on what’s right for your family.
1. Myth: School Choice Programs Take Money Away From Traditional Public Schools
Fact: School choice programs do not have a negative financial impact on taxpayers. Instead, studies have found that these options can save government funds. This conclusion is twofold: (1) students in school choice programs have higher graduation rates and less student involvement in the criminal justice system and (2) school choice programs often spend less per student than district public schools do.
EdChoice did a study that found repeated results of school choice programs saving taxpayer money. Compared to district public schools spending considerably more funds on non-instruction staffing and reducing teacher salaries, school choice programs are more efficient with using the money they receive to directly serve students. Plus, these programs help children succeed in ways that create better financial situations, like college degrees.
2. Myth: Providing Funds for Students to Attend Religious Schools Violates the Requirement for Separation Between Church and State
Fact: Courts have agreed that school choice does not violate the Establishment Clause. The agreement that our government will maintain a separation of church and state exists to prevent certain programs from forcing people to follow a specific religion.
In the 2010 case Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, the Supreme Court decided tax credits toward religious schools are constitutional. Because school choice funding does not endorse any state church nor coerce students into religion, these programs do not disobey the law.
3. Myth: There Is No Accountability in School Choice Programs
Fact: School choice programs are held accountable for their academic, financial, and administrative performance. Although there is freedom to create a personalized education curriculum in charter schools like CCA, these schools are still held responsible for their students’ achievements.
Every school operates with a distinct curriculum. School choice often motivates the administration at a charter, magnet, or private school to create more impressive and flourishing programs. Despite their “accountability,” traditional public schools perform at different standards.
4. Myth: School Choice Is Racist and Discriminatory and Will Increase Segregation
Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that school choice programs or institutions increase segregation or racist practices. Education reformers often advocate for school choice to combat the bias of a district-based system. School choice allows students of color to access educational opportunities their district-assigned school may not have.
School choice programs celebrate students of color, who typically make up a significant portion of the student body. Studies found that charter schools have a higher percentage of students of color than traditional district schools.
5. Myth: Students Do Not Benefit From School Choice and Have Lower Academic Performance on Average
Fact: School choice programs have seen excellent academic performances from their students. A recent study followed students from the Florida Tax Credit (FTC) Scholarship Program for several years after their high school education. Researchers found that FTC students had higher college enrollment and graduation rates than their public school peers.
In addition, a series of 21 studies across many different school choice programs in 2021 found evidence of improved academic performance. School choice students consistently show high academic success, from high school testing to college graduation.
6. Myth: School Choice Programs Are Not Inclusive
Fact: Students in school choice programs come from every race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability level. There is a common misconception that school choice opportunities deny underprivileged students, which contradicts the program itself. School choice creates opportunities for families whose district school can’t meet their needs.
A recent study investigated this school choice myth within the Louisiana Scholarship Program (LSP). After three years of study, researchers found that most LSP students with vouchers were African-American, female, or from low-income households. In many cases, the school choice program allowed predominantly underserved populations to thrive in a new school.
7. Myth: School Choice Advocates Are Against Public Schools and Want to Privatize the Industry
Fact: School choice advocates can support alternative schools without opposing public options. There is no evidence that school choice options actively hurt public school students or funding. Many families endorse school choice for their child’s educational needs, not as a political move toward a privatized industry.
At CCA, we see school choice as an opportunity to give students a safe and supportive environment. We are a charter school with public funding that advocates for school choice. We support every student’s progress in our and other public institutions.
Learn How CCA Overcomes Common Misconceptions About School Choice
With school choice, families can overcome their situations and give their children an equitable education. CCA works to exceed expectations and combat school choice myths through our student success stories. We enroll any student from any district in Pennsylvania for a personalized online school experience.
If you’d like to learn more about how CCA supports all students with school choice, you can call us or contact us online.