The Children Have Been Left Behind
Michelle Ray
114

Why do you believe that vouchers are the answer rather than forcing educational policy makers to structure learning in ways that extensive research, as well as the “success” of private schools, have shown to be effective facilitators of learning. Wouldn’t offering extensive freedom of choice within our public schools, which are already tax-supported, offer a greater opportunity to deliver equal opportunity to ALL children than the crap shoot of vouchers that risk poorly informed parents being swayed by the “glittering generalities” that charter schools promise, but never deliver? Vouchers and charters are NOT the answer. And as you have pointed out, neither is one-size-fit-all, test-obsessed public education. What will it take for parents and the tax-paying public to demand the same freedom of choice in the education of their children that they have in the cars they drive, the food they eat, and the clothes they wear?

In The End of Average, Todd Rose argues convincingly (and based on research) that there is no such thing as an “average” person. EVERY person has a “jagged profile” of strengths and weaknesses. Trying to force everyone to “know and be able to do” the same things at the same age, is not only developmentally inappropriate, and thus an exercise in futility, but is infinitely harmful in the effects it has on our children. It is educational malpractice!

Rose argues that “equal access” will only be achieved when children have a wide-range of learning opportunities from which to choose depending on their strengths, interests, passions, types of intelligence, and developmental readiness. This research-based freedom of choice COULD be offered by public schools, but only if and when parents and the public recognize what must happen and exercise their power to make it happen.

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