Sen. Warren’s support for parental choice
The headlines write themselves. Warren agrees with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); pigs fly; hell freezes over.
The idea that unites Warren and Cantor: Allow students to attend any public school in their area, regardless of where they live. In other words, get rid of neighborhood schools, with their traditionally small attendance areas.
Warren argues this would decouple school quality from property values. A school in a wealthy subdivision would no longer be better than a school in a poor one. Students would be assigned based on their interests and preferences, not their family income.
It's a familiar idea. Cantor attached an amendment to an overhaul of No Child Left Behind last summer that would have allowed students to take their federal money with them to attend the public school of their choice.
But, philosophically, Cantor and Warren are very different. And Warren's views aren't entirely out of step with the education reform wing of the Democratic party.
The key word here is 'public'
"School choice" — the idea that public education ought to include options for students and parents beyond just the neighborhood school — is a big tent, one that contains Cantor, Warren, President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Rand Paul.
…Meanwhile, Warren's vision could become reality in Washington, DC, which is mulling the end of neighborhood schools.