Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

School Choice

                School choice is very much in the news as there is much talk about the best way to educate our rising generation.   Schools have changed since my youngest child graduated from high school.  Charter schools in our city were new when my children were in school, but their numbers continue to grow.  Other types of school situations continue to develop and grow also; therefore, every student should be able to find his/her more successful school situation.  How can a parent know the best educational situation for his/her child?

                The Heritage Foundation recently asked, “Is your child in the right school?”  “The old way of doing K-12 education – every child put into the same public system – hasn’t worked out.  But school choice has returned control of education to the local units where it belongs:  the family and the individual school.  School choice has proven to produce better academic outcomes, significantly increased graduation rates, improved student safety, and higher parental satisfaction with their children’s education.”

                The Foundry at Heritage will be “highlighting” different success stories about school choice this week in these areas:  1) Charter schools, 2) Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), 3) Vouchers, 4) Online learning, and 5) Home schooling.  Be sure to read the posts from The Foundry this week.

                Sean Parnell recently included school choice in his State of the State address to Alaskans.  He threw his support behind an amendment to the Alaska Constitution that would put an end to Alaska’s constitutional ban on public funds paying for private or religious schools.  “To keep Alaska strong, I urge the House and Senate to vigorously debate the provisions of Senate Joint Resolution 9 and move it to the people for a vote…. On this question – whether parents ought to have a greater say in their child’s education – it is time legislators let Alaskans decide.”

                Governor Parnell did not stop there but urged other reforms in our education system too.  He suggested that we need to put more money into boarding and technical school, eliminate some of the testing methods now used, and support technological improvements in classrooms.  Since charter schools is the way our school system meets the demands of parents, parents should have more options and charter schools should get the same amount of public money that is given to regular public schools – per student.    
                Critics of the Governor’s plan believe the constitutional amendment would hurt education.  They also believe that giving public funds to private schools would “deprive” the public school systems of the funds necessary to do their job.

                Andrew Halcro, a local business and political leader believes the business community should become more involved with the schools because “90 percent of the students in Anchorage attend public schools, and that’s 90 percent of our potential workforce.”

                I believe that everyone in a community should be concerned about the education of our rising generation.  They will become the work force of the future and the leaders of tomorrow.  They need to receive the best education they can possibly receive.  This means that we need to concentrate on what is best for each child and not what is best for the education system. 

                Since freedom of choice is always a good thing, I believe there should be a wide variety of ways to educate our children and youth.  I believe that it is “fair” for the money to follow the student rather than the school.  I personally am leaning closer and closer home schooling.

                I believe that those people and organizations providing the funding should have a say about what is being taught in the schools.  With this thought in mind, I believe that religious schools should be careful about where they get their funding.  If the government is paying for the education of the students attending their schools, can the government also dictate the curriculum?  For example, could religious schools be forced to teach Common Core simply because they receive public money? 

                I encourage all parents to become very involved in the education of their children.  Children must know that education is important to their mom and dad as well as for their own futures.  Parents must stay in contact with the teachers and know what their children are being taught.  I believe that a discussion about school choice is very good; however, we must be careful and look at it from all angles.

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