does having school choice really give you freedom?
I remember the days when the only school choice was public or private, and the “neighborhood” school that we attended was really good. Either that, or I was not old enough to understand. But what I do remember is attending school, participating in extracurricular activities, having teachers that challenged you…and most importantly, I learned something.
I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not learned anything. Even today I remember a few favorite teachers…not because they had easy classes…but because I received something of value. A life lesson I will never forget. One of my favorite high school teachers just so happened to be Ginger Littleton – and by now we all know Mrs. Littleton, if by nothing more than her infamous purse.
That woman had great courage to do what she did. She has the stuff that made for a good teacher. I am sure there are many more like her, but I fear those who aren’t heavily outweigh.
But I digress, and fast forward to my days post secondary – past the days I could care less about how the school system functioned, to the day I became a parent and education mattered again. Even more than before.
As a parent I believe I am faced with many more challenges, er school choice options than mine faced. And you would think that entering my 8th year of ‘school choice’, I would have this notion conquered. But I don’t. I am as confused today as I was 8 school years ago. School choice sux (excuse my language).
Rather than the perceived freedom of school choice, I feel bound by making the ‘right’ decision. Choosing the perfect neighborhood and the ‘best’ school option hoping my children are afforded every luxury in secondary education. You see, I don’t feel free. I don’t feel like a parent who can give my children the world because I am stuck wading through school grades, standardized test scores, zones, magnet programs, websites, online reviews, school tours, friendly chats with other parents hoping to make the same ‘great’ choice for their child(ren).
Maybe I have this idea about school choice all wrong – but as I sit here at the beginning of this calendar year, planning to find a ‘great’ school for my children I can’t help but wonder…school choice, where’s the freedom in that?
- New Report Shows School Choice Program Improves Florida’s Public Schools (eon.businesswire.com)