Speaking Out for Douglas County's Important Private School Choice Proposal

So last night the Douglas County Board of Education hosted an hour of public comment on proposals made by the community’s School Choice Task Force. Of course, the testimony overwhelmingly was about the “Option Certificates,” or voucher, proposal. The Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer reports that public comments “were evenly split for and against the plan.”

Ed News Colorado’s Nancy Mitchell says the comments were about 60/40 against the private school choice proposal, though their embedded five-minute video dedicates 80 percent of airtime to opponents. In addition to the Ed News video, you should watch the local 9News report, including a great comment from Douglas County resident and task force member Charcie Russell:

“It’s not about private versus public, it’s really about more choice, and I see that great for kids, great for parents, and great for the district,” Russell said.

It’s not surprising to see passion on both sides. The opposition, though, should consider the merits of their arguments. Drawing from resources at the Foundation for Educational Choice and the Institute for Justice, my Education Policy Center friends have compiled the following document to address concerns about effects on public school performance, fiscal impact and constitutionality:

Douglas County School Choice Arguments Nov2010

The School Choice Task Force has come forward with a whole host of great ideas for the Douglas County School District to serve families better, including improved open enrollment policies, enhanced charter school relations, better advertising of district opinions and expanded services to home educators. The next public hearing on all proposals — including the Option Certificates — is scheduled for December 7, followed by a Board vote on December 21.

Previous coverage:
Let’s Shed Light, Not Heat, on Douglas County School Choice Reform Efforts
Local Buzz Growing Around Douglas County School Choice Reform Proposals