The Challenges of High School Choice—and How to Overcome Them

August 22, 2017 - 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
1016 16th St NW, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

What are the key obstacles that prevent more high schools of choice from opening?

Once opened, how are their challenges different from those faced by elementary and middle schools?

What are the pitfalls to the typical comprehensive high school that high schools of choice can better remedy?

Educational choice has value from pre-K through 12th grade, but especially in high school. As shown in the recent Fordham study, What Teens Want: A National Survey of High School Student Engagement, many U.S. students are ill-served by the typical comprehensive high school. Yet, we also know from studies of private- and charter school initiatives that outcomes are particularly robust in high schools of choice. Additionally, there is growing support for giving adolescents more pathways through school and into what follows, including myriad versions of college and career choices.

Despite all of that, both the charter- and private school choice movements focus primarily on elementary and middle schools. Join the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the American Federation for Children for an exploration of why that is, what keeps high schools of choice from proliferating, and how these obstacles can be overcome. Join the discussion online on Twitter with @educationgadfly, @SchoolChoiceNow, and #EngagingChoices, and watch the event live on C-SPAN (check your local listings). A video of the event will be made available for viewing following the conclusion of the event.


Amber M. Northern
Senior Vice President for Research
Thomas B. Fordham Institute


Tamar Jacoby

Opportunity America

Kevin Teasley

Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation

Jon Valant

Brookings Institution

Zach Verriden

Executive Director
HOPE Christian Schools: Wisconsin Region