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More on School Choice


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To the editors:

Ben Joravsky's article on TEACH America [February 14] said that school choice will inevitably result in "less money for public school teachers which would lead to more strikes and chaos. . . . Under it, Chicago's poor would have little more choice than they have right now."

This point of view fails to recognize the chief benefits of choice. Giving families the choice of which school to send their children to will change the incentives under which schools operate and make them more responsive and effective in meeting the needs of their students. Not only will the teachers and administrators be motivated to perform better and therefore enhance enrollment, but the system will be more efficient and cost effective as the best schools' revenues expand and the poorly run schools are put out of business.

The only way Chicago's poor can begin receiving an education on par with the well-to-do is in a system that rewards the teachers and schools that are doing their jobs. Choice provides a mechanism for doing this. It takes a stagnant system lacking the imagination and drive to overcome its problems and mobilizes it with dynamic solutions. It provides the opportunity for specialized schools to enter the competition and offer fresh approaches to arouse the students' enthusiasms.

An example of an approach targeting the needs of the children in its area was recently tried in Detroit. There a school was proposed in which the faculty, comprised mostly of black men, would serve not only as teachers but also as role models for their students. It's just one of the creative possibilities to more effectively reach the hearts and minds of our children made possible through choice.

David Hershey

N. Harbor

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