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What do educators say about school choice?

Our team is dedicated to engaging with teachers wherever and whenever we can, and we recognize that all schooling types—public, private or otherwise—require strong, competent educators to succeed.

2019 national survey of teachers by Harvard’s Education Next found that non-union public school teachers are much more likely to support school choice than their union counterparts. That’s no surprise as teachers’ unions are the strongest lobbyists against expanding educational opportunities for parents. After all, teachers’ unions run on membership fees from educators who teach in traditional district schools. Families that are empowered to send their children to different schooling options outside of that traditional district system would affect their bottom line.

In our more than 20 years of anecdotal experience, it’s easy to say there is no consensus among teachers about school choice. Many are passionately for it. Many say they are vehemently against it. Some simply are unsure and need more information. But support seems to be growing.

Two teachers have actually written posts for the EdChoice blog sharing their experiences and opinions. Here’s are some clips of what they had to say:

“I do not have anything against public school, although it may seem so. I am against banning school choice.

“I came to this realization when looking at my newborn and thinking, do I want for him to attend the local public school? If not, are there other options? With few options at my disposal, I felt stuck. If I could not afford the only local private school, or did not like their school, I would have to enroll my son in what I considered a failing school, and this felt unjust.

“Sadly, I am seen by others in my field as the minority for my support of school choice.

“Many teachers feel that school choice is a ploy to destroy public education to prevent those without excess income from getting an education or that it is against the separation of church and state (when speaking of vouchers) or that public school teachers will be left without a job. In districts where school choice is allowed, I have not seen these fears become reality.

“I hope there are more teachers who share my opinion but perhaps are just kept quiet for fear of retribution. Unfortunately, I haven’t met any, and that is probably because I, too, have kept quiet, so that I am not chastised by my mentors and peers. However, I have grown tired of being quiet. I care about and rally for the best educational options for children, which is why I chose to work in education.”

-Gretchen Davies, an educator of 15 years who has taught in the public, private, homeschool and charter settings in California

“Take my mother, who has always been a public educator. She knows all the problems that come with the current status quo. Charter schools, she doesn’t challenge the results of a lot of charter schools. She has problems with the fact that a lot of charters seem at least to have too great a risk of failure or that charter schools seem to get the same funding or similar funding that traditional public schools are without having to follow the rules. To her, that seems unjust.

“And maybe it does sound like that, but my response is always, “Well, why don’t we free you up? Why don’t we free up the traditional schools as well? We don’t have to make them charter schools, but let’s reform what you are as well. But in order to do that, we have to provide options and people with the idea that there’s something better out there.”

-Stanton Skerjanec, a charter school teacher in Fort Collins, Colorado

We’ve also compiled three blog posts about some of the things teachers have said to us on Facebook and Twitter, many of them expressing common concerns educators have about school choice. We encourage you to read those herehere and here.

EdChoice plans to conduct a national survey of teachers on issues of education reform and school choice in the next few years, so sign up to receive our email updates on the bottom of this page to learn more about that project.

If you’re a teacher who’d like to share your views on school choice, please use our contact form to let us know.