"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, April 03, 2006

NCLB and School Choice (Not)

Imagine a public school system where parents could choose something traditional like a Core Knowledge School, or enroll their child in a progressive inquiry-based Coalition School, or opt for something in between such as the Paideia approach.

For an Administration hell-bent on "choice," (when it applies to economics and not personal morality) they have done everything possible to arrest any possibility of choice in the public schools. With NCLB's idiotic requirements, ED's position is that you are either with us or you are closed, er, turned over to Whittle to use at public expense.

When we get enough parents and teachers talking together, enough phone calls to Congressmen, and enough people in the streets as we move toward the opportunity in 2007 to separate from this NCLB insanity, perhaps we can start talking about real choice in the public schools, rather than reducing all of them to scripted test prep factories that represent no choice at all. Here is a clip from a thoughtful op-ed on the subject from the Hartford Courant:
. . . . In a free-market system of private schools, it is the parents who decide where to send their kids, based on a subjective assessment of the whole curriculum. That this concept works well is proved by the history and modern vigor of private secondary schools and colleges in the United States. There is no significant reason similar market incentives cannot and should not be built into public schools choice as well.

In the big-government NCLB system, however, federal officials decide which schools are deemed failures, based on an objective assessment of math and reading skills. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Not to mention the unbelievable requirement that 100% of students meet standards by 2014, if I recall correctly.