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Letter: The Civil Rights Issue of Our Day

In his article, John Owens criticized public schools for essentially being expensive bureaucracies that often fail in their educational mission. His criticism is well founded given recent test scores which clearly demonstrate that too many students are not taught at the highest level and lack the necessary critical thinking skills to function in our global economy.

This being the case, one would think that Mr. Owens would promote educational opportunity for all students.  Educational opportunity translates into government monetary policy that would enable students to attend schools which better suit their learning style, whether it be a public school, charter school, parochial school, or private school. Why not give parents the freedom to choose the best school for their own child and support this freedom through monetary policy?

Numerous studies have proven that charter schools, parochial schools and private schools do an excellent job in educating our students and often at less cost. Furthermore, studies clearly show that public schools actually improve when there is competition, i.e., school choice. As a former teacher and administrator, I have encountered many excellent, confident public school teachers who welcome the competition.  Since their number one priority is the student, they understand that competition can only improve the public schools.  

This issue of school choice is the civil rights issue of our day and it is not going away anytime soon.

Laurann Pandelakis