Tuesday, April 5, 2011

School choice boosts cities

One of the positive by-products of school choice that doesn't get enough attention involves the revitalization of cities (click here and scroll). As law professor Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA's Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, pointed out March 31 in The Journal Record, high-quality private schools "are indispensable to the city’s survival."

Why? Because the health of the city and its public institutions (including the schools) depends upon the existence of vital communities. The city must attract, and keep, stable and successful (or, at least, self-supporting) families. Families will be far more likely to stay in the city if they can choose from a meaningful number of excellent and affordable schools for their kids. A set of thriving private schools, especially if they present a diverse range of religious and secular options, will appeal to numerous families and help persuade them that they need not flee to the dreaded suburbs.

So if you care deeply about fostering a new urbanism, you shouldn’t lament the exercise of parental choice; you should expand it. Our cities will be among to first to benefit from the enactment of meaningful school choice programs. No city worthy of the name is made only of the rich and poor. Middle-class Oklahomans must have a real choice of schools to live in the communities we wish to preserve. 

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