School choice is finally having its moment in the national conversation, to the joy of those interested in school reform. While some states have adopted various school choice initiatives in small doses, most have not. This may change after President Donald Trump publicly brought up school choice in his recent State of the Union address, and Republican lawmakers have introduced a series of bills that would increase federal funding for vouchers.
If school choice were adopted nationwide on the proposed scale, public education would change significantly, mostly for the better. Using a government-issued voucher, parents would finally have greater freedom in choosing whether to send their children to public school, private school, or a charter school. So many public schools that currently enjoy a monopoly would no longer benefit from automatic funding that comes regardless of their performance; they would have to compete with other schools for students.
With public schools no longer the only option for parents who can’t afford anything else, these schools would need to maximize their performance, efficiency, and attractiveness. Above all, however, schools would need to ensure their teachers use high-quality curriculum.
Currently, it can be difficult for parents to know what is in the curriculum of a typical public school. After all, there is little reason to be transparent when funding is assured. As Matt Beienburg writes in National Review, this situation has led to schools adopting questionable content that seems to promote an ideological agenda over serious learning. In particular, he mentions the nationwide adoption of the New York Times’ “1619 Project” for history class, along with Seattle’s math ethnic studies framework.