School choice in North Dakota

Published: Jun. 25, 2018 at 5:17 PM CDT
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School may be out for the summer but grades are still coming in.

North Dakota earned an A+ in a study by the Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Network for Public Education (NPE) "grading the states."​

The five criteria states were graded on are types and extent of school privatization; civil rights protections for students in voucher and charter programs; accountability, regulations and oversight; transparency of voucher and charter programs and other factors related to charter school accountability.

NPE President Diane Ravitch says the most important takeaway from the report is that choice programs drain resources from public schools that educate the vast majority of America's children. Choice programs allow public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs, whether that's to a public, private, charter, home school or any other learning environment

Representative Rick Becker says he finds Ravitch's statement and the entire report extremely biased.

Becker pushed for legislation in the last session that would provide for a study of the feasibility and desirability of developing a school choice program.

The bill did not pass.

"That bill failed and it failed miserably, and it failed for a reason. North Dakotans don't want the money that they're paying for public education to be diverted into any other source. They didn't want it to be diverted into private schools, home schools. They spoke loudly and clearly on that," said Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United​.

"Anything that gives parents different options of what they think is best for their children is a positive thing. So when this study comes out and it gives North Dakota an A, that's an A as far as protecting the status quo of public education. Frankly I would say this study shows that North Dakota has an F," said Rep. Rick Becker, R-Bismarck.

North Dakota is scored the highest, with an A plus in charter and voucher grades. The only other states that earned perfect scores are Nebraska and West Virginia.

The full report can viewed here: