Stay Updated About School Choice

Myth VS Reality

Opponents spend a lot of time and money perpetuating myths about school choice. Take a few minutes and read the truth! Then, join with the American Federation for Children as we work to bring school choice to your state.

Myth: School choice drains funds from public schools. Reality: School choice helps public schools. Studies have consistently demonstrated that public schools benefit from the existence of school voucher and scholarship tax credit programs. In addition, with private school choice programs, school districts retain a portion of the funding for each child who leaves the public system. In effect, districts still retain a portion of a child’s per-pupil funding, even though they don’t have to educate the student.

Myth: Private school choice violates the separation between church and state. Reality: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that appropriately-designed private school choice programs are fully Constitutional.

Myth: School choice is just a Republican, right-wing issue. Reality: School choice is truly a bipartisan issue. Prominent Democratic supporters of school choice include: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Joe Lieberman, former Louisiana State Senator Ann Duplessis, and former U.S. Representative Carrie Meek. Other prominent politicians who oppose school choice exercise their own choice by sending their children to private schools.

Myth: Students don’t learn more because of school choice. Reality: When you look at the credible research available on several school choice programs in places like Milwaukee, Washington, D.C., and Florida—you will see that in every case, students who participate in these programs work hard and produce higher academic achievement than their peers in public schools. Parent satisfaction is extremely high, and students love their new schools.

Myth: There is no accountability in school choice programs. Reality: The vast majority of private schools have rigorous evaluation criteria, and most school choice programs have strong accountability provisions, such as testing and reporting. Schools also have to qualify for participation in most school choice programs. In addition, we believe parents, not the government, are best equipped to know when their children succeed. For example, if you see that your child comes home with a bad report card, you hold your child and the school accountable. The American Federation for Children also supports smart accountability provisions in state laws—such as testing and program measurement.

Myth: The problem with private school choice is that schools won’t be required to accept children. Reality: The people who run private schools want to help children, especially disadvantaged children and children with disabilities. Many private schools are specifically developed to help children and families who are most in need.

Myth: School choice means abandoning public schools. Reality: Public schools are an integral part of American society and, in many cases, they offer a quality education. But when public schools don’t work—or don’t work for your child—we believe that you deserve a choice. In reality, school choice does not always mean that people have to choose private or religious schools. The school choice movement seeks access to better schools for children, whether traditional public schools, charter schools, or private schools.

Myth: School choice hurts (or is opposed by) teachers. Reality: No matter where students are being educated, there will always be a need for teachers. And more choices in schools also mean more choices for teachers.

Myth: School choice allows the best students to abandon the public schools. Reality: Students who are doing poorly in public schools are most likely to take advantage of school choice programs. Generally, students who succeed in school see no need to switch schools. Studies also demonstrate that parents—regardless of their income—make good choices when provided with school options.