Answering Myths About School Choice

New NCPA Book Shows Choice Denied Mostly to Low-Income Parents and Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 18, 2001) – Despite a growing body of research that suggests expanded school choice may help student performance, choice is still not a meaningful option for low-income families, according to a book released today by the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) at a Capitol Hill news conference featuring the Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Kaleem Caire, one of the book's co-authors.

"Parents of every income level and ethnic background deserve the freedom to choose the best education available for their children," Boehner said. "Congress has taken important steps this year that lay the foundation for equal educational opportunity in America. But millions of children remain trapped in failing, dangerous schools. Bringing hope to these children and their parents begins with dispelling the many myths the education establishment has continued to perpetuate about school choice and its impact on public education."

The book, "Ten Myths About School Choice: Answering the Campaign Against School Vouchers," charges opponents of school choice with continuing to "…use arguments based on myths, inaccuracies, half-truths, distortions and, in some instances, outright lies" to refute the proven success of tax-funded school voucher programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Florida.

Howard Fuller and Kaleem Caire are co-authors of the book. Fuller is distinguished professor of education and founder/director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University. Caire is president and chief executive officer of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), headquartered in Washington, D.C.

While the book lists 10 myths about school choice, the authors point out that two are most common:

  • That tax-funded voucher programs allow private schools to "cream" the best students through selective admission practices. In fact, the legalities of most voucher programs require selection to be random or by lottery.
  • That tax-funded voucher programs weaken or destroy public schools. To the contrary, where voucher programs have been approved and put in place, public schools also have improved.

"Middle- and upper-income Americans have always had the ability to choose their children's schools, either through choice of residence or private education," said Caire. "Only in the sense that it is being extended to low-income families is school choice 'new.'"

Please contact either of the media numbers listed below to receive a copy of this important book.