This isn’t the first time that AOC has inadvertently made the case for school choice. At an October rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), she shared that her family left the Bronx for a house in Westchester county, so that she could attend a higher-quality school. “My family made a really hard decision,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “That’s when I got my first taste of a country who allows their kids’ destiny to be determined by the zip code they are born in.”
The congresswoman has correctly diagnosed the problem. Whether or not a student is able to attend a decent public school too often turns on the neighborhood he or she happens to grow up in. It’s a reality that briefly dominated the national conversation during the recent college admissions scandal, which saw wealthy celebrities paying to have their children receive rigged acceptances to elite universities. Comparisons were immediately drawn to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, who received a five-year prison sentence for using her father’s address to ensure that her children could attend the superior elementary and middle schools nearby.
As AOC recognized in her speech at the Sanders rally, such a dilemma is only possible when the system hinges on a zip code. But isn’t that a problem that school choice can help fix?
If her experience is any guide, the congresswoman should say yes. But school choice has become strangely polarizing in recent years, as many Democratic leaders forcefully repudiate charters.
A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school (2011).
Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.
In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.