Thursday, January 08, 2004

Choice when choosers get to be choosy 

The StarTribune carries a story on the voluntary school choice plan that is going to be continued.
Among the report's findings: that parents liked the expanded choice and that students choosing suburban schools generally did better on tests than those who stayed in Minneapolis. But it's unclear to what extent participation in the program affected the test-score gap, the report's authors wrote.

Known as The Choice is Yours, the voluntary desegregation program is the offspring of a lawsuit settlement reached in 2000 between the Minneapolis NAACP and the state of Minnesota.
The project's website is here. In a Pioneer Press article on the same subject, one mother of four says her kids are happy and safe:
It's really helping them. I wanted to send them to an environment where they could learn and not have to worry. That's something they found in that school and it helps them so much.
Both articles question whether or not the children who move to the suburban schools have done better academically -- third grade tests are better, but the eighth grade tests aren't, a fact the Minneapolis public school system is emphasizing -- but wouldn't the simple fact that parents choose themselves are happier be enough? Or that participation in the program is increasing?