Educational Choice?!?

I have been fairly quiet as of late on here due to the political sandstorm which has been taking place over the past few months. I’m fairly pragmatic when it comes to politics and I choose not to define myself by a party, but to weigh each individual decision on its own merits. In other words I try not to “vote my party” but rather make an educated decision based on verified facts.

One thing I was dismayed by was the lack of ability to have more choices on education up for discussion. Charter Schools were on the ballot here in WA – and since it didn’t pass the first three times – let’s just force the issue once more and beat the voter into submission and put it on once more, along with backing it with a few million dollars by the Gates Foundation. Well, it worked, and it passed by 51% and now there are rumblings of attempting to have it overturned. People – WAKE UP – ALL OF YOU are missing the point!

Parents and teachers alike are dismayed with the state of public education in the State of WA. Our school districts are in such disarray that more and more parents prefer educational choice to provide their children a solid future, rather than just accept what is available to them. Why do the choices have to be – public, private or charter? When does Alternative Learning and Homeschooling get recognized and added into the mix as an important component in educational choice?

Children have a natural instinct and fundamental desire to learn. Their curiosity drives everything they do and they are passionate about life. This changes if their put into a cookie cutter platform and they aren’t given the educational opportunity that works best for their learning style. Once that voice is silenced and they find that no one is interested in their curiosity or has the time to answer their questions their development begins to dwindle and overtime just shuts off. This is how learners end up having behavior issues, getting labeled as ADHD, drop out of school and have a host of other behavioral issues.

Everyone must be held accountable for not labeling these children, but taking a moment and truly understanding what they need to be successful.  Don’t you like it when you have the tools to be successful? Don’t you ask at home or in the workplace for what you need? These kids can’t ask for what they need and too many people are ignoring them.  Let’s not squelch a child’s learning because a teacher has a classroom of 32 students and doesn’t have “time” to answer them. Let’s not assume every person who doesn’t want public school for their children can afford the financial burden of sending them to private school. Let’s not assume that all those scholarships which are being given to families which cannot afford private school should be shoved into charter schools so only the wealthy can go back to attending private school. Let’s not assume that online alternative learning is the “arch” enemy to public schools and give them a little support instead of continuing to fight them at every turn and cutback every ounce of support. Let’s not assume that every child should be homeschooled. And let’s certainly not assume that every child with a behavioral issue in any school has ADD, ADHD or is just an ill behaved child – ask yourself – what did I do to support that child’s learning? Do they truly have a psychological issue or am I just looking for a scapegoat because I’m too busy to be accountable.

I believe we all should be held responsible for children’s education and resolve to do what it takes to educate today’s youth as they are tomorrow’s future doctors, lawyers, mothers, fathers, presidents and speakers of the house – one choice is not the answer.

“Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it.” – Maya Angelou

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