Daily Archives: April 13, 2014

Pandora nails it; The focus on parents’ individual choice is a way to avoid/ignore/not understand the systemic problem in K-12 education. #netde #edude @ed_in_de @dedeptofed @destateboarded

{Pandora’s comments take from this blog post comment sectionMore info on the 3 charter schools failing to meet requirements of applications to openPosted on  by kilroysdelaware}

By Pandora  April 13, 2014 at 10:40 am 

The focus on parents’ individual choice is a way to avoid/ignore/not understand the systemic problem in K-12 education.  Choice is a audience/market tested buzzword, because, in most cases, the word choice is viewed as good – the ability to choose between two, or more, good things.  Should I choose the apple pie or the blueberry pie?  Choice is not, and has never been, a grassroots movement of parents.  Not. One. Little. Bit. 

But school choice has never been about choosing between good schools.  It is a way to escape the perception of ones feeder school – a self-fulfilling prophecy which has actually turned that perception into reality.  Dickinson HS is a prime example.  There was nothing wrong with this school until a group of parents decided that AIHS was better.  The fact that parents choiced their kids into AIHS’s overcrowded classrooms and trailers rather than send their children to Dickinson (and that RCCD allowed this rampant choice) always amazed me, because their choice didn’t strike me as educationally based – especially not when it began.  Choice became status.

I’ve said this before… Choice only means something if you have the ability to choose.  If you have twenty dollars in your wallet for a watch, the fact that there are Rolex watches in the display case doesn’t mean much to you.  If you don’t have a car or a job with a flexible schedule then choice will be like that Rolex – there, but not accessible to you.  

Choice also lets school districts off the hook for basic education.  If parents aren’t happy with their school then they, the parent, should choice out.  If they don’t, or can’t, choice out.  Too bad.

What would be great is if we could stop playing the gotcha game of “where do your kids go to school” and “did you apply to CSW?”  It misses the flippin’ point.  If a parent is happy with their choice for their child – that’s great, but it doesn’t address the systemic issues that have forced parents into choosing. Anecdote is not the plural of data.

Choice, NSA, charters and magnets weren’t created to benefit public education.  They were designed to fracture it.  Right now, the majority of parents do not have a real choice.  A few have an escape hatch that leaves many behind.  Can we even imagine a school choice in which we weren’t fleeing?  Fleeing is not choice.

And for a second, people who received their choice should put themselves in the shoes of parents who didn’t get their choice. There’s more of them, btw, and they’re starting to notice.  This situation is coming to a head.  It would be great if we could come up with solutions that benefit all children, rather than blow everything up.  This inability to address (hell, even flippin’ acknowledge) problems caused by choice, NSA, charters and magnets is why I’m expecting an explosion.

Thanks Pandora! Comment worthy of being it’s own blog post.