‘That’s how it’s always been’ is a poor excuse

November 3, 2022 | Sharon Sedlar

Most parents have been brought up in the public school system.  “That’s how it’s always been”, and many have been content with the current system’s limitations, even coming to trust schools to primarily direct the education and character-rearing of our children.  Some stories are those of success, but some are of heartache and peril.  “How it’s always been” and reliance on the public education system has resulted in stagnant (and recently horrifically dropping) NAEP scores. Deferral of parent insight and instinct has placed our children in jeopardy.

To those who have been adequately, or even amazingly, served by district education – I am happy for you!  Those districts should be applauded for a job well done!  But we have hundreds of thousands of children in our Commonwealth who are served poorly by district education.  Perhaps the issue is bureaucracy, “tradition”, inflexibility, laziness, lack of funding (ahem – let’s get rid of that pesky hold harmless), parent apathy, unqualified school boards, or teacher burnout.  But whatever the reason, there is NO reason to trap children; to bar them from escape of an educational environment that causes them harm.  Children are paying for these education shortcomings with their potential, their futures, and their lives.

How many more children should be set back by the inadequacies of the system?  Why shouldn’t children have an alternative to district education; particularly considering how poorly it serves our inner-city youth?  We as taxpayers support this service to our children, and as far as I’m concerned, we’re not getting what we’re paying for.  And our children are suffering.

With technological developments, lessons learned from COVID, open minds, and a willingness to do what’s right for children, we can toss aside the industrial model on which education was based a hundred years ago and rebuild it from the ground up.  Can you take the time to build curriculum and guide your child yourself at home, or do you prefer a ready-made, structured, provided at home cyber based program?  What if you want your child to be home educated in “soft subjects”, but a more “professional” and in-person approach is needed for English, math, or science?  Do you prefer a secular-based curriculum, culturally-focus curriculum, or religious curriculum with like-minded peer groups?  Or perhaps STEM, classical or fine arts-based education models serve your child best?  These options should ALL be available for families with true ability to choose, and educational funding should follow.

Today’s society is very different from 100 years ago – heck, it’s vastly different from FOUR years ago.  We’ve seen, up close and personal, what does and doesn’t work for our children.  We should not hear stories of children continuing to survive their educational environment, rather than thrive within it.  And the answer isn’t always more funding, but rather more listening and more freedom; not directed by the bureaucrats who have already failed many children so miserably, but rather by the teamwork of parents and educators truly building around the children.  Children’s educational lives are short, and we have no time to argue and waste.  Get to work and make happen.  Speak up, out and often.  Don’t settle.  Our kids deserve it.

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