Thursday, January 21, 2016

School Choice ... What Can We Do?

Much has been written and spoken lately about the notion of school choice, but what is consistently overlooked is the fact that a successful public education system is, in fact, a system of choice.  Conversations about school choice generally focus on everything but public schools but consider the following.  

In general, our perception of public education at the national level is that it is inadequate and faces daunting challenges. We feel a little better about what's going on in the State and in our districts but where the light shines brightest is on the local campus where our children go to school.  And that shouldn't be a surprise since, for the most part, we are engaged as parents and community members and have the first hand opportunity to witness the tremendous success of our public schools.

There will always be naysayers, and big money promoting other than a system of public schools has found its way into the discussion through a number of highly visible foundations and individuals.  But the biggest don't always win; there are many more cases where a concerted, coordinated effort by a large number of people has been able to win out over the proverbial 300 pound gorilla.  So my challenge to you is to look at school choice in a different light.

Public schools are all about school choice:
  • We can choose to actively involve ourselves in the efforts of our children;
  • We can choose to engage with our schools and help them become better;
  • We can choose to support out teachers and administrators;
  • We can choose to encourage and support partnerships with local businesses; or
  • We can choose to do nothing and stand by as others tear down an outstanding public education system.

  • The choice really is ours.  It is unacceptable for a child not to have access to a quality education, one that is required by Article 1, Section 7 of the Texas Constitution, which states, "A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools".  

    If we choose to do nothing to ensure a quality public education system, we need to understand that there are consequences.  Sadly, the consequences are most dire for those whose schools, teachers and administrators are not supported by parents, community members and local businesses.  The choice is ours … let’s choose to support public schools and Make Education a Priority.

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