When given the chance, many parents vote with their feet when it comes to schooling their kids. And that isn’t sitting well with big-city education unions.
As public school systems across the country face competition — from charter schools, choice plans and home schooling — lots of families are making their preferences clear. In Los Angeles, for instance, more “than 100,000 students in the nation’s second-largest district [are] now enrolled in charters,” the Associated Press reported.
The loss of thousands of students means the loss of millions in per-pupil funding that would have come with them. “The financial future of Los Angeles is difficult,” one union consultant told the AP regarding the student exodus.
The issue isn’t as acute in growing districts such as Clark County, where about two dozen charter schools currently operate and can serve to alleviate enrollment pressures on the public schools. But the message remains the same for every district: If you fail to deliver a satisfactory product, consumers will respond if they have better options.
“To the extent that the [Los Angeles] district is not serving the needs of their students,” a charter school advocate told the AP, “this has been a trend for a long time.”
Indeed. Rather than block to door by trying to undermine education reform, public school unions and advocates should focus on implementing changes that improve what they can offer parents and students. If instead they wring their hands over fleeing students and demand more tax money for failing schools, they only hasten the inevitable.