School Choice: Free the Students/Free the Parents for Quality Education

and times;”>EditorialBy Stephen Frank

Last week I had a discussion with an activist from Inglewood in regard to her school district. She informed me that she was doing all she could to fix the education system in her town. The lady was proud that for the first time, the district got $3 million for textbooks—though never asking what was in the books and how will they be used.. Yet, this is a district so poorly run academically and financially that the State of California has taken it over.

In the take over, the State threw out the elected Board of Education, threw out the Superintendent and installed its own person. The district has low scores and few students go on to college. This is a failed government school district. Seriously, the teachers are well meaning, but a district like this beats them down.

The women informed me that the students had a choice—and some—the bright ones—left the district and transferred to other local districts. This left behind the students with no choices, in a district taken over by the State. They are in a district where the teachers report to the union, not the parents, Administration or Board of Education.

I noted that being able to move out of the district for a few was not good enough—give all the kids a real choice. Yes, they could go to charter schools—there are several in this failed district. They could transfer to another government school. Nice, but not a real choice. Give the kids a real choice, a real chance at attending quality schools. Give them a voucher and pick the school of choice.

There are great charter schools, private schools and home schooling. Some schools are run by religious organizations and other by education experts. All children do not learn the same way. All children have different goals and desires and learn in different ways and speed. Some need a lot of discipline; others need the freedom to learn at their own pace. By definition government schools are a failure because they treat all children the same, dumbing down the education process instead of providing for the needs of Johnnie or Sally.

This is a three step process, but worth the effort. First you teach the parents the value of an education geared to their child. Show them there are many varieties of education. Then you have a day long “fair” where different schools, public, private, charter, home school all have the opportunity to explain to the parents the benefits of their system—no “one size fits all”. Finally, have the child involved in the decision, let them know in this process that they have a responsibility to decide and to succeed—not just show up and answer to your name in class.

Education is a process. Government needs to believe that the parents know more about the needs of their child than some bureaucrat in office on the third floor. Doctors take care of patients, but teachers take care of classes—and children get lost in that process—just look at the failed Inglewood school district.

Education is the right place to start the process of showing children that they, as individuals, are important—not their race, heritage or gender. As an individual they are important to themselves and their community. Currently students are told they are male or female, Cuban or French. They are black or white. No where does the government education system teach students they are important as individuals, Johnnie or Sally, not a Black American or a Chinese female.

Free the students. Give them the opportunity for a great education meant for them alone. Or we will continue with failed government schools. In the past four years California government education spending went up by 39% (not a typo)—you see the difference?

Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank: Is the the publisher and editor of the California Political News and Views.  Mr. Frank speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows and is a full time political consultant.

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