Choices with no guidance is a recipe for disaster
It is the early morning hours on a Monday morning and I am ready to start work at 5:30 am. I open my email and the first message I receive is from EdWeek, highlighting an article about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ commitment to school choice. Apparently, she was in Indiana this past week, pushing her agenda on school choice and vouchers. But, this article is not about DeVos. In that article, the word that grabbed my attention is choice; however, there is a missing adjective-informed choice.
Selecting a school for your child is critical to their academic success and their social and emotional development. The experience can be pleasant and deliver great results; but make the wrong choice and you might have to take blood pressure medication. It is stressful!
Nowadays, parents are faced with more options than I had when my daughters were ready for school and certainly more than when I entered the traditional education system; but, the lack of access to information continues. At face value, providing parents with a plethora of options may sound admirable and promising, but, in fact, it simply adds to the confusion. More choices and no information or guidance is a recipe for disaster.
So, let us set aside the discussion around these different methods of educational reform because it is a distraction. Adding more choices is not the immediate answer to educational reform. Helping parents to understand their choices is the most sensible solution. We need to refocus our efforts and provide parents with the proper tools to make the appropriate decisions for the sake of their child’s education.
So what are the proper tools and what information is needed to make an informed decision? Well...stay tuned for my next post and I will answer those questions.
Tamiko Jordan has worked in the field of education as a K-12 Spanish teacher, a principal and an educational consultant for the past 20 years. She has also served as an executive in youth development and is the founder of Beyond the Gap.