Sunday, September 14, 2014

Proponents of School Choice Aren't Really about "Choice" at all

The "school choice"movement has been a buzz word and a catch phrase for education reformers for quite a few years now. Yet, the realists who live on the front lines of education know that school "choice" is not really about choice at all. The movement is only about vouchers and asking students which "college prep" school they want to attend. It's never about what kind of school, or even whether to go to school or not. These are issues I address in my most recent piece of the Denver Post:

The Limits of School Choice 

In an era of standardization and conformity, the issue of choice is more important than ever. Students must be given the true opportunity to pursue their path in life. Whether it is bachelor's and master's degrees leading to professions in marketing or medicine or it's associate's degrees and apprenticeships for future technicians and laborers, there are multiple pathways to careers. And they do not all require a "common" proficiency in Algebra II at the age of fifteen.

The goal of education should not be to create a "standardized citizenry." It should be to produce creative and innovative thinkers who represent the rugged individuality upon which the country was founded. As long as public education is moving toward a "common floor" and students are not allowed true "choice" about their studies and their futures, public education will never live up to its promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The author's comments are well taken yet point to the rather complicated bureaucracy that has grown around the needs of teachers, not students. And the author lumps together all school choice advocates, but only speaks to those who argue within the framework of the government/union schools.

Real school choice ultimately returns to parents the authority and responsibility to teach their own children, an authority usurped years ago with the compulsory education laws. The professional class said that they knew how and parents did not. Look what we have.

Parents, not the state, are the primary educators of their children. It is parents who should choose the kind of educational opportunities they wish for their children, both in terms of content and setting. If these professionals truly believe their own catch phrases of diversity and inclusivity, then parents should have the opportunity to choose.

That choice cannot be possible until we have a Separation of School and State. We need to purge education of government in all its forms. Then we will see the full flowering of this thing called Democracy.