Regarding “Parents need choice,” (Feb. 17, page 23):

Although opening access to private schools may seem like a good “choice,” you leave out several key points.

In New Zealand, where school choice is most prevalent, private schools are drawing students away from the lowest performing schools only to leave high concentrations of the poorest students in the lowest performing schools. This is also happening in Washington, D.C. This doesn’t even include the cultural and social difficulties students may encounter when entering private schools. One of the best parts about public schools is that they exist within the communities where people live, strengthening bonds.

A 2010 study found that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program had no detectable impact on test scores in either the short or long term. Graduation rates rose a bit, but is this really worth draining our public schools of resources?

What about making a commitment to improving the public schools we already have? If your home’s roof starts to fail, do you just move? No. You fix the roof.

School choice means public education abandonment. This country needs to reassess its priorities regarding public education and understand that the education of its citizens is a priority for its future.

I have a child enrolled in Catholic school. It was a choice my wife and I made based on our experience as children and our desire to have our child surrounded by the Catholic faith. However, I in no way want to take public funds away from public schools.

Jon DeBellis
Vancouver, Washington