Education choice exercises a powerful pull on parents of school children. Twenty-four percent of parents moved to their current neighborhood so their children could attend their current school; 15 percent of public school students attend parent-selected rather than district-assigned schools; and parents choose private schools or homeschooling for 14 percent of students. Despite its prevalence, school choice remains hotly debated among education policymakers.
On February 2, the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings and a task force composed of leading education policy experts released proposals on how to expand school choice to increase equity and create a market within the public sector for school quality. The first of a series of Brown Center reports on rethinking the federal role in education, Expanding Choice in Elementary and Secondary Education, argues that parents should be afforded the maximum degree of choice. It provides a series of practical and novel recommendations for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including national chartering of virtual education providers; expanding the types of information collected on school performance; providing incentives for low-performing school districts to increase choice and competition; and creating independent school choice portals to aid parents in choosing between schools.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.