• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Shouldn't More Than Three Low-Income Students Be Able to Go to the School of Their Choice?

    The Los Angeles Times has a great story out today about how a team of public school teachers hand selected three students from low-income immigrant families and created their own nonprofit to help get the students into prestigious private high schools. The teacher’s principal, Scott Schmerelson, told the Times: “The LAUSD has great magnet high schools these kids can go to if they wish, and if their parents wish to send them to private schools it’s OK with me too. It’s a wonderful opportunity to go off to a prestigious school and to a wonderful college.”

    If only more teacher union members felt the same way. All families deserve the right to choose where their kids go to school. And slowly more and more Americans are gaining that right. As Heritage scholar Dan Lips noted earlier this year:

    This year, 13 states and the District of Columbia are supporting private school choice. Approximately 150,000 children are using publicly funded scholar­ships to attend private school. Millions more are benefiting from other choice options ranging from charter schools and public school choice to home­schooling and virtual education. Still, an estimated 74 percent of students remain in government-assigned public schools.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Shouldn't More Than Three Low-Income Students Be Able to Go to the School of Their Choice?

    1. The Paleo Conservati says:

      The 2007-2008 school year saw LAUSD serve 694,288 students with 45,473 teachers (and 38,494 other employees) making it the second largest employer in Los Angeles County, second only to the county government. The total school district budget for 2008 was $19,986,000,000 US dollars. Ratio: $28786.32 per student, 15.26 teachers per student.

      Despite the enormous sums of money and high teacher per student ratio, in 2007, L.A. Unified School District's dropout rate was 33.6 percent, grades 9 through 12 officially with the mayor of Los Angeles stating the official droput rate is wrong, Villaraigosa said. "We know it's 50 to 60 percent and in some parts of the city 65 or 70 percent."

      In enrollment breakdown by ethnic group, 73% of its students were of Hispanic origin and 11% of its students were of African-American origin. Non-Hispanic White students comprise 9% of the student population, while Asian students comprise 4%. Students of Filipino origin form 2% of the student population, and American Indian and Pacific Islanders together are less than 1%. It should be obvious to even a casual observer where the new recruits are coming from that feed Los Angeles based gangs. Even Orange County (Orange County Register article in today's issue) announced gang membership in Orange County is up 50% this year with 98% of the new gang members being Latino. And this in a city that used to be the crowning jewel of public education in the SouthWest. In our father’s day, high school students gained measurable aptitudes in higher math, engineering, pre-college science, and solid English courses that led to real competency right along with trades like mechanics and electrical vocational courses.

      Compare this with the Des Moines Public School District whom in 2007-2008 school year had 30,683 students, a budget of $397.7 million, and a total staff (everyone) of 4,904. Ratio: $12,961.57 per student, 13.5 teachers per student.

      The racial makeup of the city is 82.3% White, 8.07% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 3.50% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.52% from other races, and 2.23% from two or more races. 6.61% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In comparison to Los Angeles, Des Moines has an overall graduation rate of 84%.

      Many important explanatory factors contribute ranging from the economic to mass immigration to the cultural; however, these are roughly the observable differences and they are both stark and real.

      Perhaps the Los Angeles Unified School District can learn something from the Des Moines Public School District.


    2. Pingback: Shouldn’t More Than Three Low-Income Students Be Able to Go to the … : thegameoflove

    3. Barb MN says:

      Sure. They should have a choice AT THEIR OWN COST! Many people have low-income. And with some people on low income the government covers their living expenses. So their low income really isn't. This should not be a right to favor three kids and at taxpayer expense. Kids should have to earn it and recognized by a private sponsor. Not the taxpayers.

      I am saddened by your revelation in Des Moines. I was there once as a child. Not many people. Sounds overpopulated.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.