The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

What’s on First: School Choice vs. Common Core

What’s on First: School Choice vs. Common Core
robertRobert C. Enlow
Posted: November 15, 2013

Many Common Core supporters say school choice and Common Core can work together to create the best system. Maybe they can, but school choice for all families must come first, and these two scenarios show why:
School Choice First
  1. All parents are empowered to choose schools.
  2. Schools tailor their curricula and more to fit desires of parents and needs of students.
  3. More diverse schools open and continually adapt to best serve kids and keep their edge on other schools.
  4. System of continual growth and improvement is established with no ceiling created.
Common Core First
  1. Schools teach Common Core curricula, but change extracurricular activities and amenities (sports, aftercare services, trade school services, etc.) to differentiate themselves from other schools and compete for parents.
  2. Parents choose schools based on bells and whistles, while all kids get the same minimum education, with the exception of a few elite schools that choose to teach outside and above Common Core.
  3. Common Core becomes the academic ceiling. Schooling stagnation ensues.
  4. Politicians try to get new updated version of Common Core implemented.
  5. Repeat. 
Sound familiar? 
Common Core just perpetuates our current, cyclical system where a slight improvement might happen in the short term, then a status quo settles in. Furthermore, it takes time—which many families don’t have—to incite revisiting and changing established, top-down government policies.
To establish an educational system that will improve itself continually and responsively for the betterment of all children, school choice must come first.

is the President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Robert has been an integral part of the Foundation since its founding in 1996, previously serving as fundraiser, projects coordinator, vice president, and executive director prior to being named president and CEO. Robert is the co-editor of “Liberty and Learning: Milton Friedman’s Voucher Idea at Fifty,” author of “Grading Vouchers: Ranking America’s School Choice Programs,” and co-author of “School Choice: A Reform that Works” and a chapter in “An Education Agenda: Let Parents Choose Their Children’s School.” His opinions have appeared in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Arizona Republic, National Review, and USA Today.

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