There is a clear line of demarcation between traditional public education supporters and ed reformers. You might not be able to identify either group just by looking at them, but listen closely, the language gives it away. After working for the school district for more than a decade and now networking with parents who have made non-traditional choices and school leaders of non-traditional schools, the difference in the conversation is palpable.
I understand both sides of the issue, always have, but I’m a believer in choice. My husband and I exercised choice for our children, so I support anyone doing the same for their own kids. But what I’m hearing repeatedly is anti-public education rhetoric as a response to anyone showing a drop of interest in non-traditional options. This is a pretty harsh accusation and one that deserves to be called out.
You might hate traditional public education if you:
…believe your zoned school cannot meet your child’s needs
…are a supporter, teacher, leader, funder, or parent of charter schools
…use words like “choice”, “urgency”, “status quo”
…believe choice is a viable immediate response to a complicated long-term problem
…publicly acknowledge deficiencies in teaching and leadership in neighborhood schools
I guess I could be petty by responding to that mess with my own irrational rhetoric, but I find no value in playing the dozens with grown folk. However, I’m happy to offer up a reality check for choice-naysayers and those who make it their mission to dismantle nontraditional choices.
If you made a choice to live in your present situation (let’s not even talk location, property values, etc.)…
If you have the means to provide little things like vacations, summer camp, and tutors…
If you made a choice to send your own child to a non-neighborhood school…
If you have the education and social/political capital to advocate for your child…
Stop stepping on families who have not and cannot!
When fighting against school choice, you’re not in the ring with the adults that represent the ideology you so detest. You’re sparring with our children’s future.
(End of rant)