OPINION: Ed Policy Expert Says School Choice, Competition Help Children
Posted on Tuesday February 01, 2011 | National
From The Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C.:
Kelley Williams-Bolar made national headlines after being convicted for lying about her residency to get her two daughters into a better school district. She was sentenced to five years in prison. The sentence was reduced and she served her nine days in jail last week. The Akron, Ohio mother of two was herself just 12 credit hours away from becoming an accredited teacher.
While not ignoring or dismissing the facts of the case of falsified records and the legal questions of culpability, this case highlights a bigger issue in education – the role of parents in their children’s education. How much control should parents have over their own children’s education?
President Obama, in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, posed this question as well as he exhorted the nation to “win the race to educate our kids” and to “be willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.” He emphasized the role of parents as being primary in the education of their children.
From Amy Chua’s controversial methods of strict parenting as captured in the Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother to Kelley Williams-Bolar risking felony for the sake of her children’s education, the motivation of parents to provide what’s best for their children can be strong and relentless.
Economist Milton Friedman made this same observation when he wrote in 1979 that, “Parents generally have both greater interest in their children's schooling and more intimate knowledge of their capacities and needs than anyone else.”
At the same time that the Williams-Bolar case was provoking national attention, last week was also National School Choice Week and, therefore, begs the question of whether more choice can benefit parents and the educational system as a whole.