We have already talked about some of the benefits a very expansive private school choice option would have on our educational system. It would create an even playing field for both public and private schools that fosters competition between all schools and ultimately evolves into an educational system where schools would have to be specialized. These specialized schools would be structured in a way that engages the students in any subject matter through topics of special interest to each individual student. Some independent school districts are just beginning to figure this out. One district in Texas, Grand Prairie ISD, is so proud of the specialized schools (or magnet schools) that they have started, that they believe it is worth teaching other districts how to establish specialized schools and the benefits of having those schools in their district.
Grand Prairie ISD specialized (magnet) schools:
- Dubiski Career High School
- Crosswinds High School
- Young Men’s Leadership
- Academy at John F. Kennedy Middle School
- Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Bill Arnold Middle School
- David Daniels Elementary Academy of Science and Math
- Marshall Leadership Academy
- Whitt Fine Arts Academy
Both magnet and charter schools provide a level of specialization and public school choice. Public school districts all over the country are feeling the pressure to work harder to compete with other school districts for students and funding. The result of this pressure is a minor increase in completion between mainly just public schools. The result is an attempt by school districts to start or convert schools into these type of schools in order to market the uniqueness of each school to certain interests of individual students.
While we will not see the full spectrum and benefits of both private and public school specialization due to increased competition from universal private school choice, we can see some of the benefits that come with just limited public school specialization. Already, they can boast an overall increase in enrollment district wide due to their efforts in specialized education. Grand Prairie ISD hosted a symposium on “choice in education” where over 400 attendees had a first-hand demonstration of the district’s success in specialized schools.
Grand Prairie ISD Superintendent Susan Hull about their school choice options:
And if parents and children … have a portfolio choice that they can come to and look at and plan their futures with the schools as partners; then achievement will be higher, attendance will be higher, money flow will be better and the future will be brighter for those kids.
Some independent school districts will work really hard to compete for other public school students. They are already showing the benefits of school choice and specialization. Imagine how much easier it would be to prove to both public and private schools that universal private school choice would greatly increase choice and specialization. A result would be a huge increase in competition that leads to a much higher benefit for enrollment, funding and student achievement than that limited public school choice can offer.