National School Choice Week (Jan. 26 – Feb. 1 this year) was created to highlight the many choices available to meet the needs of students with a variety of interests, abilities, and learning styles. Over the opposition of teachers’ unions, the school choice movement is growing as parents and enlightened educators realize that a “one-size-fits-all” approach, well, just doesn’t fit everyone. Unfortunately, there is a real threat that could slow down or even stop the progress we are making toward real choice in education. The Common Core Standards are finding their way into more than just our public schools and are leaving students who learn differently and parents who want a specific learning environment for their children with few options.
Michelle Malkin, in her article, “School Choice and Common Core: Mortal Enemies,” describes the educational journey she and her family have taken, which has included public, private, charter and home schooling. The key, she points out, is family involvement:
Family participation is not an afterthought. It’s the engine that drives everything. The dedicated parents, grandparents, foster parents and legal guardians I’ve met in the charter school movement and homeschooling community see themselves as their children’s primary educational providers. Not the U.S. Department of Education. Not the White House. Not GOP politicians cashing in on top-down ‘education reform.’
Involved parents know what their kids need; they know their strengths and weaknesses and they know what kind of learning environment will best serve their child. As a twenty-year homeschooling mother of four, I am so thankful that I was able to tailor each child’s education for that child’s particular needs. School choice allows us to do that. Insisting that Common Core suits the needs of everyone kills school choice, smothers individuality, discourages innovation, and creates a mind-numbing conformity that will not improve education in our country.