A common point of resistance to school choice programs is figuring out how to make sure that each student has transportation to and from school. Meanwhile, plenty of districts, cities, and businesses are finding ways to adapt transportation methods so that students can attend their school of choice. Transportation may look different as more students choose their school, but it’s not a reason to restrict educational freedom.
An article in EducationNext discussed recent research on transportation methods in cities where many students exercise choice. The article describes how Denver, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, and Washington D.C. are finding ways to provide transportation to students who attend a school of choice. It also found that in most cases, students don’t have long commutes.
In some cities, like New Orleans and New York, the district simply provides students with transportation, including students who choose their schools. Washington D.C. has school district-provided transportation or free access to public transportation for all students. Denver provides students who exercise choice with a free shuttle-bus service. And many individual charter schools will provide transportation, like in Detroit.
More places than those mentioned in the study are creating ways to help students with transportation. Low-income families in Minnesota can qualify for transportation cost reimbursements if their child enrolls in a charter school or open enrollment in the local district. Businesses are also stepping in, as parents and school districts have connected with rideshare programs, tailored specifically to get students to and from school.
And in Missouri, where charter schools are eligible for state transportation aid, these schools can work with the local district or use another contractor to arrange transportation.
Concern over transportation shouldn’t determine where students go to school. Transportation is a means to an end and shouldn’t prevent students from attending the school of their choice.