The Results Don’t Lie – School Choice Works

Written By Jeffrey Park, Posted on April 13, 2023

The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has wrapped up, and the focus is now shifting to the election.

But I want to fill you in on something that we were keeping an eye on, that everyone else missed.

During the last session, NDP MLA Nicole Goehring introduced the following motion:

Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly

(a) recognize that Alberta has been acknowledged for having a world-class public education system;

(b) oppose any efforts to create a privatized, two-tier education system; and

(c) oppose the use of vouchers for education, similar to those used in the United States 

The motion wasn’t debated because time ran out. 

But there’s nothing stopping Ms. Goehring from re-introducing the motion after the election, or even implementing it should the NDP form government.

So, let’s get to the motion itself, and discuss all the ways in which it would be bad for the very kids she is attempting to help.

First, she says Alberta has a world-class public education system.

We agree!

Alberta has one of the very best education systems in the world – 3rd in reading, 3rd in science, 8th in math.

But Alberta has a world-class education *because* of school choice and pluralism in our education system.

This isn’t just our opinion – it’s been proven, consistently, by empirical research.

Of 28 peer-reviewed academic studies on this topic, 25 show that school choice – including vouchers – is not only good for the families who send their kids to a school of choice but also improves test scores at public schools!

Of the remaining three studies, one found no change, while only two showed negative effects, and one of those was from Indiana, which has one of the most regulatorily onerous voucher systems in the world.

Second, Ms. Goehring attempts to fearmonger with the phrase “two-tier education”.

But two-tier education is actually what the NDP’s education policies would create.

The Ontario education system, for example, is a perfect example of the kind of two-tier education system the NDP would introduce.

In Ontario, funding doesn’t follow the child to the school of their choice.

This means that only those who can afford to pay all their education taxes *and* pay again for private education, or those who can afford to buy an expensive house in a good school zone, have education choice.

Meanwhile, any Ontario family who can’t afford that is left stuck with no choice.

The reality is that those who are well-off will always have school choice.

The beauty of having funding follow the child is that it provides every other family with that same choice.

Suddenly, instead of only the wealthy being able to afford school choice, everyone can.

In summary, the NDP believes that school choice policies that ensure everyone has equal access to school choice is a “two-tier” system, but that their policy, where the rich can have school choice while everyone else can’t, is not a “two-tier” system.


Finally, Ms. Goehring also tries to fearmonger to make it sound like school vouchers are an “American-style” education system.

It’s true that many US states have adopted new systems in which the money follows the child – to wild success. But the idea is also tremendously popular worldwide. Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, and more, all have robust voucher systems, while school choice is a constitutional right in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Ireland!

We think that Alberta needs to expand education choice, not restrict it and that our kids benefit from choice.


This article was originally published on the Alberta Parent’s Union website. If you would like to support their efforts to promote charter school and homeschooling options, consider donating or joining their network!

Jeffrey Park

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