As readers of this column know, I support parental choice even though I recognize its downsides. The latest evidence comes from Miami-Dade, the nation’s fifth-largest school district (“Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho rides the choice wave to student success,” Education Next).
Seventy-four percent of students in K-12 in the district attend schools other than those assigned to them. This includes charter schools, private schools and magnet schools, and makes makes Miami-Dade the district with more choices than any other. As a result, black and Hispanic students in the district outpace the state in performance on reading and math tests.
I realize that correlation is not causation. It may just be that other factors other than choice alone explain the impressive results. But at a time when districts across the nation have had little success shrinking the achievement gap between blacks, Hispanics and others, it’s worthwhile asking if choice is the answer. If so, then perhaps even opponents will change their minds.
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