BY KRISTEN BURROUGHS | JULY 28, 2010
Is it possible to have too much choice? Liberals say so.
Liberals often oppose choices they don’t agree with – they’d rather limit our choices than allow us to make a “wrong” decision. We can choose abortion because that’s a choice liberals like, but they don’t want us to choose Fox News. Liberals would revive the “Fairness Doctrine,” if they could, deprive Fox viewers of their right to a dissenting opinion. To liberals, its “free speech for me, but not for thee.”
Liberals feel this way about many of our choices.
Guns? Liberals can’t trust ordinary Americans with guns.
Traditional medicine? Liberals want to replace it with rationed Obamacare.
Nationalism? Liberals prefer UN and World Court to our own country’s laws and traditions.
States rights? Liberals want to destroy our 10th Amendment autonomy.
School choice? Liberal educrats will decide what’s good for our kids.
But choice exists. Someone is choosing. The issue isn’t whether choice exists, but rather who will be doing the choosing. When it comes to education, the teacher’s union (AEA) and their administrative-Kommissars want to choose for us.
We’d rather choose for ourselves, thank you.
Choosing means knowing, creating and expanding options. In the past, we had one choice – the neighborhood school. This fit the agenda of the teacher’s union, and their desire to control all aspects of education, but it was regressive – backward looking – because it didn’t allow us to explore all the newer choices available today.
Here are some examples of how we can, if plucky, cobble together an individualized education:
J., 16, who is musically gifted, drives to Cactus Shadows for geometry, American history and choir; Horizon for AP music theory, and PVCC for English 101 and voice lessons. At home, he takes Japanese online, to fulfill his language requirement.
A., 8, who is ADDHD, finds traditional schools overwhelming. She’s taught at home by her mom and has a weekly tutor for reading skills. Her father built her a study carrel out of plywood that helps her focus by eliminating visual distractions.
K., 15, is prodigious at math and science. Twice weekly, his mother drives him to ASU for Calculus 3 and University Physics 2. At home, online, he takes English, history and Latin at his grade level.
L., 11, is an average student. She thrives at Black Mountain Elementary School and takes all of her classes there.
M., 18, is a nationally ranked cyclist who traveled to races frequently. She couldn’t train for the Olympic cycling team – her dream – and attend school, even online school, so she dropped out after 9th grade. After not making the Olympic cut, she’s eager to make up lost time. Maria is taking English 102 and American Government at Scottsdale Community College, as well as high school classes online.
These five students are our future. For them, the old one-size-fits-all model has died. The delusion that schools should be controlled by a wise elite likewise is dying. From their ashes will come a new paradigm, one that respects our need for choices. (This includes making a bad choice, by the way. Let’s get away from the obscene condescension from liberals regarding our inability to survive a bad choice. We don’t need to be protected from ourselves by the “superiorly trained” graduates of educational schools. Just leave us alone.)
But we do need to know what’s available. Choices include:
home or group;
online or bricks-and-mortar;
private, charter, public, or boarding;
religious or secular;
single-sex or co-educational;
specialized or general;
Western-oriented or multicultural;
traditional or education-school-trendy;
vocational or academic;
And, much more.
As a state, we need to support most of the choices above, without overstepping the boundaries determined by the Supreme Court. We need to allow each student’s allotted educational dollars to flow many directions simultaneously.
As we take control of our own and our children’s education, we’ll take control of education. As we tear down barriers to choose, we make education better for all.
So choose the best. Demand options. Demand that our tax dollars support any option that benefits our children. And in doing so, we’ll be making education better for all Arizona’s students.