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SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
Elementary and Secondary School Choice
in the American Educational System
Ging Nua Yu
University of South Florida
SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
Elementary and Secondary School Choice
in the American Educational System
Education is an important aspect of a child?s life and acts as the foundation of knowledge
for children. Schools are oftentimes the second home of children since students in the United
States spent approximately 6.64 hours a day and 180 days a year in school in 2007-2008
according to a survey by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES, n.d.). Yet, the
educational institution at which students receive their primary and secondary education is at
much of a debate between traditional geographic public government run institutions and other
alternative education option. School choice is defined as ?an array of programs that offer K?12
students and their families alternatives to the public schools they are assigned to by the location
of their residence? (Congressional Digest, 2017, p.2). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
allows for parents to transfer their child to a better performing school in their child was
performing poorly in the previous school (Congressional Digest, 2017, p.2). School choice
allows public education funds to follow a student to the educational institute of their choice
(EdChoice, 2018). Supporters of this reform believe that parents should make the decision of
which school their child attends, not the government. On the other side of the debate are
educational leaders who believe that education should not be a competition. These leaders
support providing quality education in all schools. Despite the different opinions of school
choice, there is one objective that both sides of the debate can agree on: quality education for
children. Thus, pro-school choice organizations should provide donations to public educational
institutions in order for the public schools to provide quality education for its students.
To every political debate, there are key important stakeholders at each end of the
spectrum. The American Federation for Children Growth Fund (AFC Growth Fund) is a national
SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
organization that supports choice in education. They educate the public on various educational
options especially school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and education savings
accounts. The organization also ?invest in states with the greatest potential for enacting or
expanding high-quality, accountable school choice program? (AFC Growth Fund, ?Mission and
Activities?). Their mission is to empower parents, especially those from low income families to
have the choice in choosing the educational institution that best suits the needs of their child
(AFC Growth Fund, ?Mission Statement?). According to EdChoice, school choice is defined as
allowing public education funds to follow a student to the educational institution of their choice
(2018). This allows for students to have more educational options other than traditional public
schools. These institutions include charter, magnet and private schools. School choice creates
competition in the education system to which supporters say will result in better school
performance (Wolfe, 2003, p. 31). School choice also allows parents to choose the educational
institution that will provide the best education to suit their child?s needs. Parents become more
informed about the school their child is attending by researching school options (Lovenheim and
Walsh, 2018, p.77).
On the other hand, the School Superintendents Association (AASA) is an organization of
education leaders that ?advocates to for the highest quality of public education for all students?
(AASA, ?About AASA?). Members of the AASA consist of education leaders including chief
executive officers, superintendents, senior level school administrators, and professors. The
organization strongly supports public education and opposes school choice. According to the
AASA, school choice is not the choice of parents in private voucher schools, rather the choice of
the school to accept or reject the student into the school based on discriminatory factors (AASA,
2017). Charter schools are becoming increasing popular resulting in admission lotteries due to
SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
the number of applicants exceeding the number of seats available (National Alliance for Public
Charter Schools, 2018). This creates a case of luck since only a certain number of students will
be able to attend charter schools. For the remaining students, they must continue their education
at a geographically based public school. Magnet schools have certain requirements for
admissions, making them less of a choice for some students. This results in the majority of
students being enrolled at public schools. Quality at these schools are rather poorer since these
schools suffer from low funding, overcrowding and a lack of resources especially those schools
in the urban areas.
Despite educational institution preference differences, it is clear that the AFC Growth
Fund and AASA both strives toward quality education for students. With this common goal in
mind, pro-school choice organizations should place their investments on low funded public
schools in order to provide the foundation for them to thrive. Public schools are funded by
federal, state and local sources with state and local sources accounting for 91% of its revenue
(NCE, n.d.). Distribution of public education funds have many disparities resulting in many low
funded schools. These schools often fail to thrive as they lack basic resources for student
success. This issue can be resolved by the assistance of the AFC Growth Fund. The AFC Growth
Fund can alleviate the issue of lack of resources by investing in low funded schools. The public
schools can use the funding to build more classrooms to solve the problem of overcrowding and
to buy more educational resources like computers and books to facilitate better teaching and
learning. This will allow for students in these schools to be able to receive quality education
without having to enroll in a charter, magnet or public school. In order for the compromise to
work, the AASA must also be willing to cooperate with the AFC Growth Fund and promote
school choice for those students who can afford it.
SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
School choice became a highly debated topic on the election of Betsy DeVos as Secretary
of Education (Congressional Digest, 2017, p.2). Supporters of school choice enjoy the idea of a
free market education system that creates competition resulting in better performing schools
(Wolfe, 2003, p. 31). For those that oppose school choice, they believe that education reforms
should emphasize on creating quality in all schools (AASA, n.d.). Wolfe declares that ?a good
education for all children ought to be the central touchstone when it comes to assessing school
reform proposals? (Wolfe, 2003, p.68). The funding of schools is dependent on the laws of the
state, but there are things that can be done to alleviate the issues faced by public schools. The
AFC Growth Fund and other organizations should provide donations to low funded schools in
order for these schools to provide quality education for its students. Education should not be
segregated by school choice but united by the common goal of providing the best quality of
education for all children.
SCHOOL CHOICE IN AMERICA
American Federation for Children Growth Fund (AFC Growth Fund), (n.d.) Mission and
Activities. Retrieved from www.afcgrowthfund.org
EdChoice. (2018) What is School Choice? Retrieved from www.edchoice.org
LOVENHEIM, M. F., & WALSH, P. (2018). (RE)SEARCHING FOR A SCHOOL: HOW
CHOICE DRIVES PARENTS TO BECOME MORE INFORMED. Education
Next, 18(1), 72-77.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, (2018) Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery
Procedures. Retrieved from www.publiccharters.org
National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), (n.d.) School and Staffing Survey. Retrieved
The School Superintendents Association (AASA), (2017) School Choice. Retrieved from
Wolfe, A. (2003). School choice. [electronic resource] : the moral debate. Princeton, N.J. :
Princeton University Press, c2003. (Baltimore, Md. : Project MUSE, 2015).
ENC 1102 – 023
Jan 28, 2018
Use of GMO: Safe or Unsafe?
Genetically modified organism or known as GMO more commonly is a plant, animal,
microorganism or any other organism whose genetics has been changed in a laboratory using
the techniques of genetic engineering or transgenic technology (Han, 29). This technique
creates organisms in an unnatural way, we can call it hybrid in other words. It can be a
crossbred between a plant and virus, an animal or any bacteria. Some of the reasons to create
GMOs include pest resistance, virus resistance, herbicide tolerance, fortification, cosmetic
preservation and most importantly to increase growth rate. According to the research
conducted by GL Woolsey published on Rosebud Online Magazine, GMO first hit the
consumer market in 1994 (Woolsey, n.p.). From that time people are divided on a
controversy, one of these sides is of the view that GMO pose a higher risk to human health
because it is an unnatural way to increase the growth and immunity of organisms. Center for
Eco genetics and Environmental Health divided the stakeholders on the issue of GMO as ?the
global community, sovereign Tribal nations, municipalities, local communities, industry,
biotechnology firms, organic and conventional farmers, farm workers, fishermen, religious
groups, ecologists, engineers, toxicologists, risk analysts, doctors, politicians, parents,
children, non-governmental organizations, and advocacy organizations? (Fast Facts about
GMO, n.p.). Of all these stakeholders Nestle company is the first main stakeholder that
supports the use of GMO and declare it as fully safe and healthy. Nestle products range from
mineral water to baby milk powder. Their stance on this matter means a lot because Nestle is
widely considered to be the world?s largest food manufacturer, with more than 2000 brands
and operations in 197 countries. Other strong stakeholder in this controversy is Center for
Food Safety (CFS). This Non-Profit Organization is working to protect the quality of food
from the harmful technologies. This controversy over the use of GMO can never be resolved
without two things, first people need awareness regarding the use of GMOs by companies
like Nestle. Secondly, labeling of GMO food must be essential but with clear information
about what kind of GMO has been used in the food products.
To better understand the controversy, we need to take a look at the stances of both
stakeholders. First, Nestle is one of the leading multinational companies in the world with
2000 brands spreading in 197 countries around the world. Their stakes in the controversy of
GMO use are high because they deal in products ranging from water to baby food. This is
why the use of GMO in food products is sensitive issue for them and their consumers.
Famous analysis website Pestle Analysis published the yearly revenue and stats about Nestle
company, ?Nestle reported revenues of $99.09 billion, and estimated sales of $92.62 billion
in a year. Nestle had a market capitalization of $245.71 billion? (SWOT Analysis of Nestle,
n.p.). Nestle is producing 12 segments of consumer products including baby foods, bottled
water, cereals, candy, coffee, prepared and prepackaged foods, dairy, drinks, food service,
healthcare and nutrition, ice cream and pet care. Nestle use GMO in almost every product.
They use soy to replace breast milk in their formula and it’s basically 100% GMO soy beans
(6 Brands That Use Almost Exclusively GMO Ingredients, n.p.). If a company is using GMO
in baby products, GMO use must be so important to that company.
According to official statements by Nestle, they don?t grow GMO crops themselves
but they do use GMOs in their products. ?Sometimes, yes. We support the responsible use of
any innovative, safe technology. We decide whether to use ingredients derived from GMOs
at a local level, in response to consumer concerns?. Furthermore, in the support of GMO
safety Nestle stated ?GMO crops that have passed strict regulatory and safety approvals are
as safe as conventional crops. ?GMO ingredients? have a potentially important role to play in
increasing food production, to support sustainable agriculture and help feed a growing world
population? (Nestle and GMO, n.p.). Although Nestle says that they strictly follow the rules
and regulations of the governments regarding gene technology use wherever they operate. On
the other hand, when U.S. government tried to declare the labeling mandatory in all states
different food companies oppose this bill of labeling, Nestle was one of these countries
(Keiren, n.p.) that oppose the labeling of GMO food. This shows the dual standard of
companies making profit of GMO products. Their excuse to use GMO is that the GMO is
completely safe and are used according to the rules and regulations defined by governments.
Let?s look at the other side of picture, there are many organizations all around the
world that oppose the use of GMOs because of three major problems. First, GMO food can
create an allergic reaction to some sensitive people. GMO is not a natural way for the growth
of food this is why some chemicals can react with the metabolism of sensitive people.
Second, GMO food is not as nutritional as natural food, GMO might increase the growth of
food but it is not natural so, its nutritional level is lower than the natural food in most of the
cases. Third, Production of toxins, GMO food can be toxic, or it can produce toxins inside the
body of a person. This is why different organizations like Organic Consumer Organization,
Non-GMO Project, Are We Eating Fishy Food, GMO Inside, and Center for Food Safety are
working against GMO or at least for the safe use of GMO. Center for Food Safety (CFS) is
one of the leading Non-Profit Organization in this controversial area. They have several ways
of working including research publications, awareness campaigns, and publications of annual
reports. This organization has stakes based on the humanitarian ground. According to their
official statement ?Center for Food Safety (CFS) is a national non-profit public interest and
environmental advocacy organization working to protect human health and the environment
by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and
other forms of sustainable agriculture? (About CFS, n.p.). It means they are not only working
to prove that GMO is unsafe but they are also working to prevent the use of various harmful
technologies used by the companies for their commercial benefit.
CFS is organizing different campaigns including the campaigns to spread awareness
about genetically engineered fish, chicken, plants, and they are additionally working in the
support of labeling the GMO food. Although many countries have passed the law of labeling
but not all of the countries in the world have passed such laws, there is a long way to go.
Looking at the stakes of both stakeholders, both sides want to provide people with
healthy food. Although Nestle has an additional commercial benefit from the use of GMO but
still a lot of people use their products that is why their stance is important and they claim that
they use GMO because it is healthy for people. CFS is spreading awareness because they
want people to eat only healthy food. So, the betterment of consumers is the goal of both
sides. By keeping in account this, there are two compromises that can work in this
controversy. First, rules and regulations must be defined for the use of GMO products and
there must be an authority to oversee these rules and regulations. A working example of this
is U.S. biotechnology regulation 1986 (Fast Facts about Genetically Modified Organisms,
n.p.). Although this is not a legal binding but still it is good. That is why UN needs to
establish such organizations just to regulate the use of GMO in a good way.
Second, labeling must be essential, there is no problem in labeling the GMO products
if a company is producing goods by following the rules and regulations. Nestle claims that
their GMO food is good and it has no harm for people but they are fighting to avoid labeling.
Instead they must cooperate with government and spread awareness about the advantages of
GMO food, this is how people will buy GMO food even after labeling. The GMO
controversy is so complex, many countries have labeling laws but it has not happed all
around the world (GMOs labeled, n.p), so most of us are unaware about what we are eating.
It is the right of humans to know what they are eating. These two compromises can resolve
the controversy of GMO food and people will get healthy food with full awareness about
what they are eating.
Han, Lei. Genetically Modified Microorganisms: Development and Applications. The GMO
Handbook: Genetically Modified Animals, Microbes, and Plants in Biotechnology.
Totowa, NJ: Humana Press Inc, 2004.
Woolsey, GL. GMO Timeline: A History of Genetically Modified Foods. ?Rosebudmag?.
Fast Facts about Genetically Modified Organisms. Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental
SWOT Analysis of Nestle, the popular food brand. Pestleanalysis.
. Oct 14, 2015.
6 Brands That Use Almost Exclusively GMO Ingredients. Simple Organic Life.
Keiren. Food Companies Fighting GMO Labeling https://insteading.com/blog/foodcompanies-fighting-gmo-labeling/. May 6, 2016.
About Us. centerforfoodsafety.org, https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/about-us.
How are GMOs labeled around the world? GMO FAQ.
A new bill has been proposed by President Trump for expanding the military budget by
$54 billion which takes us to $604 billion and while and for every bill there is two sides, and
these two sides are being led by two well known organizations. GCOMS (Global Campaign
on Military Spending) which is opposed to the idea of spending more and on the other hand
Lockheed Martin which is part of the military manufacturing for USA, it’s pro the bill and it’s
willing to back it up with their own money. Now both sides have very big influence in the
government they are backed by multiple governor’s and Senate’s, for that reason the solution
would be for this year the bill wouldn’t change at all and during the next ten years they
should decrease the amount of money by three percent every year. That would leave the
nation at the top in defence with three times more than its next competition. The money taken
would be given to the public education system, the creation of jobs, and other government
resources. That would solve multiple issues as well.
A true leader of their field Lockheed Martin is the biggest military contractor with the
United States. There support to the Presidents new bill is against the GCOMS ideals.
Lockheed Martin believes that the outcome of the new bill will benefit the nation in various
ways. What most people are concerned about is the unemployment, without the jobs that will
be created and kept with the new bill ?the military provid …
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