What good is it to offer an abundance of school options if parents don’t know about them?
It may have been heartening this week to see voters in New Jersey and Douglas County, Colorado, elect local and statewide candidates who have campaigned on the need to change the landscape of public education in a way that maximizes school choice. But the reality is that most families who could benefit from these options have no idea they exist. And that is what’s holding back the momentum of the school-choice movement.
Far too many school-choice advocates are still going door to door to promote charter schools, school vouchers, and the like, or they’re putting up billboards and running radio ads to reach their audience. I recently had the pleasure of leading a discussion on marketing school choice at the annual conference of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers in San Diego, and I was blessed the insight of leading school-choice advocates who shared their work in the trenches. But it’s clear that the choice movement relies mostly on old-school marketing efforts when what we need is new-school sophistication.
Running billboard and radio ads and going door to door helps, but it’s not enough. Families need more independent information to make good choices, but there are few institutionalized avenues for parents to explore all their options.
To that end, I propose the following to align with the spread of public and private school options:
Districts such as those in New...