School Choice a Red Herring?

I saw this article back in May, but I just got around to writing something about it.  Mary Beth Hertz, the educator and highly respected blogger from the Philly Teacher blog wrote an article entitled “The Falsehood of School Choice” which argues that school choice should not be about public versus private versus charter, it’s should be about instructional models.  She outlines various models from her own experience and argues that there needs to be more diversity among those models, not simply more schools or funding for specific programs like charters or vouchers.

From a parent’s perspective, this is another way of looking at the school choice question.  Public, private or charter is an important question, especially when you fold in policy issues like school vouchers.  But regardless of your opinion on these political issues, the most important factor for most of us is identifying the best environment for our kids to learn.  Instructional models are a big part of it, but to me, overall school philosophy (for example, how a school manages conflict between students) plays an important role as well.  It all harkens back to one of my original school choice struggles–one of the most important criteria is degree of “fit”.  I wouldn’t limit the consideration of whether a school is a good fit on the school’s instructional models alone.  How the school executes on those models and its philosophy outside of the classroom is also, perhaps even equally, important.



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