Talking About Parental Choice
Edspresso links today to an article on charter schools in Wisconsin. There are some great quotes here about the diversity school choice allows. For example, a history teacher discusses public high school:
"Public high school education was devised in the late 1800s to prepare students for factory jobs," Hagerman said. "It’s been difficult to change that, and we’re finally doing it. This acknowledges that students are not all the same.
"It’s refreshing and it’s wonderful."
And a district administrator comments on how parental choice expands opportunities that were once available only to a wealthy few:
"But a core group of parents has been school-shopping for years. This puts ownership on them. It’s a paradigm shift. For a long time, the concept of school choice was only for families with the financial means to do it."
I think that first quote may be going a bit too far some early proponents of public education had worthwhile goals like spreading literacy, not just preparing factory workers but she makes a good point that today’s education system should take account of students’ individuality. Although a standard neighborhood public school was all that was feasible in the 19th century, we now have the resources and technology to offer online courses, charter schools specializing in any of dozens of subjects, and partnerships with nonprofit and for-profit schools. There’s no reason to stick with the one-public-school-per-neighborhood model when educational options are multiplying in the private sector.