EDPS 360 (A2) Fall 2013

What are our real choices?

In Cooperative Blog Posts on October 10, 2013 at 7:45 am


As I was reading this article (Kachur, “Privatizing Public Choice”) and after a few class discussions about should parents have the right to choose which school their children should attend? I was a bit confused, because I thought parents already do choose which schools they send their kids. After reading this article, I had a bit more understanding at what the question was really asking. I was looking at this eissue in a different mindset and cultural view. In my family throughout my k-12 education years, my parents and the rest of my family had a different set of criteria when choosing schools for myself or my cousins. They did not look at grading standards for each schools because they had complete faith and trust in the school system and their methods of education. What they looked for in choosing schools was for mobility, accessible public transportation, and family heritage. My family tends to pick schools that are closer to where we live and also schools that previous generations of our family attended as a way in maintaining tradition. This cultural view is influenced where we came from and lived. We lived in an environment where not everyone had a vehicle or had limited public transport. So mobility and distance was always taken into consideration whenever we travel to certain places. Also, from most small towns there usually was only two schools, one catholic or public. People tend to go to the schools where there family has attended before. Since there were only two schools there was never a reason to compare grading standards between them. We just trusted in the school in their educational system. This was the mindset I was going into when looking at the issue without realizing that the question was looking at it in a different perspective. I had a close minded presumption that other families were just like mine when it comes to choosing schools for their kids.

When I opened my mind into looking at this issue in a different perspective, I had to take into consideration that I was living in a different environment than I lived before, so I finally realize that the values and factors are certainly different in choosing schools. I now live in a city where majority of the population owns a vehicle or there is a sufficient public transportation. So mobility and distance does not really take into consideration for some parents in making decisions. Since there are more than two schools in a city, more comparisons can be made between the schools. As well, in this society and culture, family tradition is practiced and valued differently. In this society there is more focus on the actions of an individual rather than actions that represent the whole family. Since there is a difference in economic factors, the criteria and perception on what to look for in schools would also be different. Instead of looking at the economic factors, parents tend to look at more about what the school can offer for their children such as high grades and athletic programs. I did not realize that these factors can too easily influenced parents decisions in choosing their children’s schools. From reading this article I can take on it that there are different considerations that parents take into in deciding which schools to send their children.

There are some things stated in the article that I disagree with. In my belief private schools should not be funded or even receive funding from the government. They are privatized and independently own, in itself is a private corporations. Which perplexes me as to why the Alberta government as the article stated gives funding to these private schools. By being a taxpayer and and having my taxes fund for public schooling I know that my money is helping not only my family but others as well for their education. It subsidizes cost, making it affordable for everyone and not just a selected few. Private schools charged tuition fees in the range of $3000 to $5000 per year. That tuition is equivalent to post secondary institutions. If parents can afford to pay that much to send their children in private schools, even though they offer the same education as public schools than it should be them funding for the schools and not the government. Its like the issue on health care. We have public but also a few privatized hospitals. People pay their taxes for public health care, because not only does it subsidized cost but it also benefits everyone else. Not everyone can afford privatized hospitals, only those can afford goes and pays for private health care. That is how they receive income, government does not give funding to private health care as the public does not pay taxes for it. I think this should be applied with private schools. People’s taxes should be funding public schools, not for both public and private.

Parents having a choice in choosing which schools they would like to send their children does not mean having a variety of different choices in schools. They are still entitled to a choice even though they are limited options to choose from. Its that those choices are influenced by different factors, such as economic, cultural, and high standards of grading. These different criteria is what gives parents the right to choose how or where their children should be educated, not by having different assortments of types of schools to choose from.


While reading this article I was shocked to read that private schools received funding from the provincial government. In order for a private school to be truly privatized, it must be removed from government control and under private control and ownership. Although I am in favor of a choice between public and private schools, I disagree that private schools should receive funding from the government. I agree with Kiel that private schools should be funded entirely by the tuition rates of the students who attend. Especially in light of the recent budget cuts to Alberta schools, private schools do not offer universal access, and should therefore not receive public funding. It should be noted that, to a certain degree, private schools promote educational inequality. Not everyone can attend private schools, so it is often limited to those who can afford it. Ultimately, this raises the question of whether a top-notch education should be bought as opposed to earned. Instead, private schools should be encouraged to compete for the interest of students and parents in a form of market competition in order to receive funding.

The article states that public schools have responded to the increase of private and charter schools by offering more diverse and alternate programs. I believe that charter schools are unnecessary if public schools can respond with similar programs. There is no sense funding charter schools if students can receive a comparable educational experience at a public school. With that, I believe the only competition should be between public and private schools. Private schools that are funded by private corporations will strive to increase revenue by offering what is lacking from public schools.

Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2011. 0. .


In a strange coincidence, my chosen paper topic is this exact topic, a fact which I just found out after reading the article today. The issue with the creation of these private schooling options is the marketization of education. It seems from the article and from other’s in the field such as George Dei and Leeno Karumanchery believe that the move to marketization in education is the beginning of setting up a two-tier education system, not intentionally but none-the-less an issue (Dei, 1999). I realize that invoking the slippery slope logical fallacy as an argument is not the strongest position, the structure of education in the US attests to this real possibility. It seems to me from the Kachur article that this apparatus of choice exists within the larger public districts such as Edmonton Public in their alternative programs, and the charter school system could be rolled back into the public with an increased push for diversity of program choice within the standard public systems.

Dei, George JView Profile; Karumanchery, Leeno L. Alberta Journal of Educational Research45.2(Summer 1999): 111-131.


My understanding of the article was limited to my geographic location in Alberta. To me the idea of choosing what school to attend is a foreign idea. From grade three to graduation I attended Duchess School, where the elementary to high school were all one school. The region that Duchess School is a part of is the grasslands region in the south east part of Alberta, the town is located twenty minutes north of the city of Brooks, which is located a half hour between Calgary and Medicine Hat along highway one. Besides Brooks’ schools (Composite High and a Catholic school) my choices for education was limited to other small community schools around me. Choosing to stick with Duchess seemed like the logical choice, since Duchess School was the most convenient, both locational and social. Even by the time I entered high school, and had a driver’s license, I believed it was wrong for me to leave a school that I spent so much of my life attending. So the idea of choosing what school never occurred to me while I was reading this article, and it was unclear as to what the idea was on my first read through.

In the article it talks about parents wanting better opportunity for their kids, however the expenses of private schools create restrictions for poor or middle class families from getting into the private schools. All of the schools in the grasslands region, that I can recall, are public; excluding the Catholic school in Brooks. However the idea of a “better” education for the students was usually achieved by sending them to the Composite High in Brooks. The Comp being a public school meant that there was still equal opportunity for student enrollment, but it would still have all the faults of a public school. The reason for the migration to the Comp from the rural towns was more for the variety of classes and options that the small schools couldn’t provide. Class sizes in the rural towns would not be big enough to support some specialized classes, so the idea of taking more variety at the Comp appealed to some students and parents. This was mentioned similarly in the article with parents who want more options for their kids. The difference between my region and cities like Edmonton and Calgary (Red deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, etc.) is that parents would have to make a greater effort in finding a school that offers a different education that wouldn’t be already accessible in the school they are in. This, I assume, is easiest done by enrolling in a private schools in the cities rather than the public. I’m not saying that there isn’t a difference between the public schools in a city; with my limited knowledge of Edmonton I know that: Old Scona is academic, Scona High is athletic, and there are multiple fine arts schools around the city. If the student wants a significant difference in their education, then switching to a private school is a logical option, if the public schools are not meeting the student’s needs. Being that private schools don’t get funded by school boards, like a corporation separate from the government, this means that access is limited to the income of the parents. Yes there are scholarships and ways that low income families get into these schools, but a private school would still refuse more than they accept. This is where we go back to inequality in education, and the idea that money is what advances students, not academic achievement.

The general idea of the article boils down to: the public schools not having what the parents want for their kids, and the private schools not being accessible for the poorer and middle class families. The supposed solution is the idea of a charter school. Charter schools are run by private societies (corporations) with the approval of the minister of education. They cannot deny access to students unless a space or resource limit is reached; this means that charter schools end up being public schools. Charter schools end up being a semi government funded alternative for some students who want a quasi-private education experience. However the limited number of charter schools in Alberta means that student choices are limited as well.

  1. […] What are our real choices? (societyandeducation.wordpress.com) […]

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