Cliques, Movements, Politics & Education Choice

September 25, 2022 | Sharon Sedlar

What do you think when I say the word “clique”?  Does it bring warm fuzzy memories of your high school years, or feelings of dread and darkness?  In its best form, a clique is a simple gathering of people with shared sentiments or goals who choose to be involved with each other socially; but in it’s worst form, it’s an echo chamber and license to bully.

Movements are made up of like-minded individuals in a collective attempt to bring about change, or resist change.  Generally in the education movement specifically concerning options, on one side you have those wishing for increases in traditional district education funding and resources, and on the “other” side, you have those advocating for an open educational market devoid of zip code boundaries – including funding for non-district options such as homeschool, private, charter, online, pods, hybrid and microschools.

No valid, true and lasting change in education will exist without the reform of the codes and laws crafted by our elected officials with at least some cooperation between the respective political parties.  Education IS NOT a partisan issue despite what some cliques, movements or political campaigns would have you believe – It’s a CHILD ISSUE.  As such, all should be united under the mission of improvement of the educational lives of our children.

In the Pennsylvania education choice movement, there are certainly (and sadly) cliques.  Say the wrong thing, and you’re labeled or blocked (your account could be shadowbanned, locked, or suspended by the companies themselves).  Are you a Democrat or Republican?  Part of a union?  Inner city, rural or suburban family?  Teacher or administrator?  Religious or atheist?  Mini-van or smart car driver?  Private school or homeschool family?   You’re instantly labeled.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, children need physiological, safety, love and belonging, and esteem needs met before true self-actualization; notice the lack of any societally constructed or politically designated label. 

We must all unite for the betterment of our children and their education.  Those truly seeking improvement for our children in education will have an open heart to all circumstances, zip codes, income levels, families and all education models.  Not “us” versus “them”, but all of us for all children.

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