Last week the Brookings Institution released results of The 2016 Education Choice and Competition Index. As stated in a Brookings press release, ECCI “is an annual guide to the conditions of K-12 school choice in the nation’s largest school districts. The ECCI examines variation in district level choice based on objective scoring of thirteen categories of policy and practice” School districts are scored on individual variables and given an overall grade
ECCI ranks 112 school districts. It is interesting to note that almost one quarter (26 of 112 school districts) received a grade of F, which means parents have little if any options regarding school choice.
For the second year in a row, Denver won the top spot for large school districts. The Recovery School District serving New Orleans was second.
Five school districts in North Carolina were included in the ECCI index. Grades ranged from a C+ to C-, and indicated school districts in the Tar Heel state still have more to do to be school-choice friendly. North Carolina school districts and their grades include: Mecklenburg County 20th; Grade: C+; Wake County 27th; Grade: C+; Forsyth County 37th; Grade C; Guilford County, 37th; Grade C and Cumberland County 57th, Grade: C-.
ECCI results were certainly interesting, as were Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos’s remarks which highlighted the release. If you wanted a good idea of DeVos’ thinking on choice, you got it. The speech spelled out her thinking on choice and her priorities.
I am in favor of increased choice, but I’m not in favor of any one form of choice over another. I’m simply in favor of giving parents more and better options to find an environment that will set their child up for success. I’m opposed to any parents feeling trapped or, worse yet, feeling that they can’t offer their child the education they wish they could. It shouldn’t matter what type of school a student attends, so long as the school is the right fit for that student. Our nation’s commitment is to provide a quality education to every child to serve the public, common good. Accordingly, we must shift the paradigm to think of education funding as investments made in individual children, not in institutions or buildings. Let me say it again: we must change the way we think about funding education and instead invest in children, not in buildings.
It is interesting to note the speech received so little media coverage. That DeVos chose to highlight ECCI results is noteworthy. I guess the media doesn’t want to give parents a message they want to hear.
It should be an interesting four years.