Education

Courtesy of meditationmount.org

Do you remember when you were a kid and teachers explained that while some people learn best visually, others learn best aurally? As it turns out, the differences don’t stop there. Some people like working in small groups while others prefer being lectured. Some like to work in laboratories while others prefer  classrooms. There are hundreds of different combinations that motivate people to learn, which shows that every person is different. However, our education system largely remains a one-size-fits-all model.

Typically, kids of similar ages who live in the same geographic area are sent to the same school, which probably forces the children to learn the same curriculum as well. The system assumes that students will learn the same content at the same rate in the same way. This misconception produces ineffective schools and low parent satisfaction. Students and their families need to be able to have the freedom to choose the type of education they receive. Some families may be forced to enroll their children in a poor school because they lack the financial means to offer their children a better education. We have a moral obligation to provide such students a lifeboat so that they are able to choose a different school. Even in higher-ranked schools, there are still students who may not flourish for whatever reason, and they too deserve better options.

There is a whole week’s worth of celebrations across the country that focuses on the available education options and the push to expand them. National School Choice Week, currently in its third year, has exploded from organizing roughly 400 events to over 3,500.

During an education reform panel I attended, the audience was able to hear stories from parents and teachers who were so passionate about better schooling choices that they became leaders of education advocacy organizations.  However, the best part of the panel occurred when two seventh grade students from the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester shared their stories about the education system.

Both girls had recently transferred from public schools and expressed more enthusiasm about education in the new school. They mentioned that they were more focused, worked harder, and loved attending school now. One of the girls gave a passionate speech about her specific plans for future success, which ended with her enthusiastic exclamation, “I will go to college!”

Girls and boys who face similar conditions have been given opportunities to achieve their dreams  because of school-choice. Not every state has school choice programs, and those that do are often in limited capacities. Many students are given the right to choose, but many more are still forced into one type of education. This is why National School Choice Week is not just a celebration of the progress that has been made over the past year, but it also serves as the foundation for the  hard work that needs to continue — so every student has the freedom to pick an amazing school that motivates them to learn and reach their goals.

Russell is a member of the class of 2013.



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