Boy, it doesn't sound any better: low-income parents are given the option to choose whatever school they want to send their kids to. Unfettered by the single monopolistic government school they've been handed, parents are given vouchers or a menu of charter schools, private schools, or parochial schools to choose from. Wow. With so many choices, some parents might think they were at McDondald's.
But imagine if every parent in an inner-city neighborhoood exercised their choice to transfer to a “good” school. Private and parochial schools get to choose who attends their schools, so it's not really much of a choice at all. They choose you. The remaining public charter schools would quickly fill up, so they would have to turn students away. Just look at the waiting lists at KIPP and Edison schools. Because money and other resources are diverted from the “bad” schools in "school choice" systems, the inequities in the distribution of resources become greater. Ultimately, these “bad” schools won't be able to recover.
This process gets worse as “bad” schools get even worse, driving more and more parents away from these schools to the few "good" schools. But because these schools will be fillled to capacity, they will be forced to turn these desperate parents away. This will be the case in any and every "school choice" scenario. While this would be fine if you and your children attend the “good” school, it would not appear to be such a great solution if you were stuck with one of the losers.
The solution? Make every school a "choice" school, i.e., one where parents would want to send their kids.
How do you do that? Well, it would take a lot of money. Lots of funds from local, state, and federal government. And the schools would have to be free so low-income children could attend. And they would have to acccept all kids who applied, not just the "desirable" students.
Gee, that sounds an awful lot like public education to me.