May 15, 2024

CultureLimited Government

Why America’s Students Will Benefit From School Choice

By: Anthony Miragliotta

I was fortunate to attend one of the top 500 public high schools in America, Wayne Valley High School located in Wayne, New Jersey. They provided me with a stellar education with many interesting electives. What made Wayne Valley stand out from the bunch is that financial literacy was a required course all students had to take to graduate; which many schools nationwide do not have as a requirement for graduation. Wayne is located next to Paterson, which is not the best of areas. Paterson has two high schools, John F. Kennedy High School and Eastside High School. Yes, the same Eastside High School was the premise of the 1989 film Lean On Me starring Morgan Freeman. Paterson, compared to schools like Wayne, does not receive the same electives and rigorous school programs that Wayne offers. Paterson area schools are home to a lot of gang activity and drug problems that plague the school system. In addition, the students who attend the schools in Paterson are likely going through a lot outside of the classroom. A person who needs an individualized education program (IEP) would greatly benefit from going to a school like Wayne Valley which has so much to offer. As an IEP student, I was able to receive an education without falling behind in my classes. School choice policies provide the best opportunity for students because of an improved school culture, decreased bullying, and give the students the chance to thrive and be the best well-rounded students they can be.

Many topics make a school thrive. The first one is the school culture. Are the teachers treating the students fairly? Are the students passing essential courses like math and reading? Do individual students have their needs met? The better the school culture is, the better it is for the student to achieve success. According to a recent poll, only 30% of high school students rate their school culture positively. This is a concerning percentage that should have faculty and teachers jumping out of their chairs. This is very similar to working at a job. If the right culture does not fit the employee, then the employee will start to lose interest and find somewhere else to go that best fits their needs. Giving students the basic help they need is essential to creating a positive school culture. 

NJ public schools have a policy that prevents harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB). During my time in high school, my grade racked up the most disciplinary referrals in one year. The big question is why are there these instances of HIB in school? Of course, there will always be bullying in every school. The solution is to mitigate it. According to a poll conducted by the CDC, nearly 14% of public schools report that bullying is a discipline problem occurring daily or at least once a week. This percentage is a vast number across America. By estimate, this is about 200,000 schools in America. While schools must do everything in their power to stop bullying, a lot of times it has to do with what is going on at the home of the student. The majority of the troublemakers in my class mostly dealt with major issues at home. Thus, the problem at home spreads to the school. These students will then take out their anger on their peers, teachers, and support staff. It is important to get these students the help they desperately need.

Lastly, many students should consider attending religious, technical, or charter schools. Many schools plant the idea in their student’s minds that if they do not go to college, they cannot succeed. This claim is atrocious since many well-paying jobs, such as plumbing and carpentry, do not require a college degree, yet, no one wants to take on those careers. According to a recent poll, only 6% of high school students plan to become plumbers or work in the skilled trades. This is an alarming statistic that should raise eyebrows. Since high school teachers and faculty are pushing students to attend college, these professions are starting to become scarce. With teachers pushing students to go to college, more students will graduate with loads of debt that will take their entire lives to pay off, essentially bankrupting a generation. As long as the flow of students from HS continues attending college, the teacher’s unions will be happy as long as enough students attend. Which means the flow of cash will only continue. In addition, their unions will continue asking for pay raises every year. The ongoing push for college over trades is arguably the biggest scam of the generation.

School choice is essential for students to get the quality education they so desperately need. Our system has been failing these students by not giving them a proper learning culture. Lastly, the teachers union’s push to have students go to college because they will not be successful is wrong. Parents should have a say in their child’s education just as much as students should have a say in what they want out of their education. Only they know what is best to get the most out of the current public school system.