Our Position (School Choice)
Focus on the Family supports school choice, including legislative measures that make available publicly funded scholarships that can be used for private school tuition.
Focus on the Family believes that children are a heritage and blessing from God and that parents are accountable to God for raising, shaping and preparing children to serve Him. This accountability includes a responsibility to protect the hearts and minds of their children, a vital part of which is actively choosing the best education environment for their children. Thus, we whole-heartedly support school choice in its many varied forms.
Each child is unique, having different strengths and weaknesses. This is why we encourage parents to consider all available types of schooling, including public, private and home schools. Each education option has its own set of pros and cons, so Focus also encourages parents to make their schooling decisions on a family-by-family, child-by-child basis:
- In the public classroom, parental rights to determine how and when a child is taught about sexual topics, families' Biblical principles and religious beliefs are sometimes held in disrespect.
- In private Christian schools, the educational offering is sometimes too limited or too expensive.
- In the case of home schooling, parents sometimes feel unqualified or emotionally unsuited to teach, or they believe that their children need more peer experiences.
- Charter schools, which are not available in every community, have particular curricular emphases that are not always suited to a student's education needs.
- Public schools, which offer a wide range of classes, are often the most affordable education option.
- Private Christian schools offer curriculum that supports parents' beliefs and values.
- Home schools provide parents the greatest discretion over and direct involvement with their children's education.
- Charter schools provide particular curricular emphases, which might appeal to students with specific academic and vocational interests.
Focus on the Family also supports school choice because we believe it improves quality of education – creating a situation where school personnel need to compete for students by offering the best possible programs and standards. Competition makes schools more responsive to parents. This is the heart of a free enterprise system, which puts power in the hands of the "customers" – in this case, parents and students.
We also believe school choice is the fastest and most efficient way to equalize educational opportunity for all children, regardless of socio-economic status or ethnicity. Today, if an upper-class family is dissatisfied with their local public schools, they have the resources to send their children where they wish. An underprivileged family, however, has no such alternative. We believe school choice levels the playing field by making schools accountable to the parents – instead of bureaucrats – and by making the best schools available to the families who need them most.
In summary, we believe school choice represents the cutting-edge future of education. It breaks up the current bureaucratic monopoly controlling our education system and places the power squarely into the hands of the people to whom it belongs: parents.
Copyright © 2008 Focus on the Family.