Williams: The D.C. Enrollment Scandal Shows How Critical It Is to Guard Against Parent Privilege

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Media Outlet: The 74

Conor P. Williams wrote for The 74 about the enrollment scandal at D.C. public schools. 

Notwithstanding the incandescent glow of various public debates, almost everyone likes school choice. Thing is, no one seems to like it for the same reason — and that drives a wide range of school choice experiments. 
Some like choice systems that empower families to pick an educational approach that matches their preferences (e.g. vouchers). Others like choice systems that allow for a curated collection of school models with track records of meeting students’ diverse needs (i.e., charter schools). Still others like choice systems that allow them to set up school entry barriers that result in segregated student bodies (i.e., neighborhood schools) 
Family empowerment, student achievement, and protection of accumulated privilege. Those goals aren’t naturally or necessarily compatible. Which of these we prioritize affects the systems we design — and their effects on students.

Author:

Conor P. Williams is a senior researcher in New America's Education Policy Program. His work addresses policies and practices related to educational equity, dual language learners, immigration, and school choice.