Controversial Debate: “Choice is essential to improving education in the US”

Did we win the school choice debate that I almost missed?

A Better Chicago, a foundation that seeks to “empower high performing nonprofits that are dramatically improving educational opportunities for low income Chicagoans” hosted a debate at its annual education summit on Thursday May 18, 2017 at Venue SIX10 610 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL.

The debate motion was: “Choice is essential to improving education in the US”

Honestly, I almost missed the debate because I took a cab to the wrong address. I made it to the venue about 6 minutes before we went on stage. I thought my opening remarks were going fine until Macke stopped me dead in my tracks about 10 seconds before my time was up. Honestly, I was headed to an exciting crescendo!

I am really glad that I asked for Jitu to be my partner in the debate. He knows all of the communities needs in Chicago and was able to clearly articulate the stratification and purposeful inequalities that are being perpetrated in the Windy City. He is also an incredible orator and can really engage a room with his presence.

I found Mike P. to be quite restrained in this debate. I expected more of the Mike I saw in my debate prep when I watched the Intelligence Squared debate (see Embrace The Common Core)

Also, Shayne Evans arguments about income and resource inequality in Chicago were quite appealing. In fact, he seemed to spend more time discussing those issues than school choice in the debate— so I found myself nodding often in agreement with many of his comments.

I do apologize for the ending of the debate video. You really only missed me asking the audience if they thought Jitu and I could raise the Cub’s W flag for a debate win.

Do you think Jitu and I won the #EdSummit17 debate?

The debate was moderated by Margaret “Macke” Raymond, who has served as founder and director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University.

Julian Vasquez Heilig (against the motion) is an award-winning teacher, researcher, and blogger. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento.

Jitu Brown (against the motion), married father of one child, is the national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J).

Mike Petrilli (for the motion) is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, executive editor of Education Next, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States.

Shayne Evans (for the motion) is a Founder and Managing Partner of The Academy Group.

Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below and/or reblog to share this discussion with others.

Check out and follow my YouTube channel here.

Want to know about Cloaking Inequity’s freshly pressed conversations about educational policy? Click the “Follow blog by email” button in the upper left hand corner of this page.

Twitter: @ProfessorJVH

Click here for Vitae.


  • I noted that Petrelli & Evans danced around the non-democratic forms of charter governance. Your arguments that children are routinely excluded & expelled from charters and that the curriculum is tightly controlled constrains who can actually ‘vote with their feet’.


  • Actually, the debate is not whether we should have choice. Wealthy people have it – not only via private schools, but via the ability to move to affluent, exclusive suburbs. The question is only will low moderate income people have some options.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s