Students have diverse educational needs. They have varying aptitudes and interests and learn better in different environments. No school can be all things to all students. No school can meet all the unique needs of all the children who just happen to live nearby. Even the highest‐performing schools aren’t necessarily the right fit for some students. Empowering families with educational choice through vouchers, tax‐credit scholarships, or education savings accounts enables them to select the education providers that are the best match for their kids.
District schools are subject to political control, which produces winners and losers. At best, district schools will reflect the values and preferences of the majority of citizens in a given area. Other times they even reflect the values and preferences of a mere plurality or a politically powerful minority. The zero‐sum nature of political control forces citizens into conflict with each other. By contrast, a system of educational choice avoids social strife and fosters social harmony by allowing parents with differing views of education each to have their preferences met without forcing their views on their unwilling neighbors.
Perhaps most importantly, research shows that educational choice works. The near‐consensus of random‐assignment studies — the gold standard of social science research — finds that educational choice programs improve students’ academic performance and increases their likelihood of graduating high school and enrolling in college.
Not only do participating students benefit, but so do those who remain in their assigned schools. More than 30 studies find that choice programs produce modest but statistically significant positive effects in district schools as a result of the increased choice and competition.
Whether they exercise choice or not, all students benefit from having more choices.