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What Would Actually Happen If We Gave All Parents The Chance To Pick Their Children’s Schools?

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos believes the key to improving schools in the United States is simple: Let parents choose where to send their children. Many school choice advocates cheered DeVos’ appointment, hoping it would unleash new funding and federal support for more charter schools, private school vouchers and other “choice” options, such as virtual schools and online programs.

Giving parents choices beyond the school closest to home would open the door to innovation and put pressure on traditional schools to improve, these advocates argue. But research on whether more school choice improves education is mixed. Real-life examples from around the world also provide little evidence that allowing families more freedom of choice improves achievement.