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Supreme Court Empowers Parents through Educational Choice

For Immediate Release. July 1, 2002Far too often, parents are unable because of income or location to send their children to a school of their choice.  However, on June 27, 2002, the Supreme Court empowered parents to remove their children from schools that are failing and select schools that best suit their children’s academic needs by ruling that school vouchers are constitutional.  The Court said in a 5-4 ruling that it was constitutional for public funds to be used for tuition at religious schools as long as parents have a selection among a range of religious and secular schools.

One of the best strategies to improve academic achievement of children is by giving parents the option of school choice.   Academically, the nation’s performance has been declining for more than 30 years.  Tragically, the longer a child spends in school, the worse they do academically.  Studies have indicated that school choice increases student’s academic achievement.  For example, one study demonstrated that math and reading test scores of students attending schools of their parent’s choice had increases after just three years according to studies of the Milwaukee choice, which gives vouchers to low-income parents for public or private schools.  Also, after one year in the New York School Choice Scholarship Foundation (SCSF), students scored higher on math and reading exams.  These private scholarships are given to low-income students.  Furthermore, parents of scholarship recipients were more satisfied with the schools their children attended.  The study demonstrated that compared with only one-eighth of the parents of the control group, more that half of these parents gave their schools an “A.”

For far too long, parents and schools have been failing the American children.  So often, when parents feel they are not directly paying for their child’s education, they do not take an active interest in how their children perform academically and do not hold the school accountable for poor performance.  This is the case with American public schools, since parents believe that American public schools are free because they do not pay for their child’s education directly but collectively with other taxpayers.  However, vouchers put parents back into the educational process because they are now paying out of their pockets part of the tuition and take greater interest in holding both the child and school accountable for academic achievement.  If the parents are dissatisfied with the school meeting their children’s academic requirements, they have the option to transfer to another school that they feel best meets these needs and are not locked into a school that is failing their children.

“As schools compete for funding there is no doubt that there will be an increase in academic quality, high school graduation rates, and teacher salaries,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.  “School choice is another option that can now be used to reverse the course of deteriorating performances of American schools by enhancing students academic achievement and school accountability. “

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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