|Posted on December 13, 2014 at 11:25 AM|
The following is a guest blog I wrote for The Society for Quality Education on our current education system in Ontario. I've re-posted the original here. For more information, please visit: http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/school-choice-1011
Choice is the foundation of a free society. Everywhere you look, you are allowed choices.
Our shopping malls are filled with retailers offering different colours, styles, textures, and sizes.
When you go to a restaurant, the menu is filled with dozens of different options to satisfy almost any palette.
Even the government is decided by the choices we make at the ballot boxes.
But when it comes to educating our children, the choice of learning is a luxury afforded mainly to those who can afford to pay private school tuitions.
The Society for Quality Education is an organization that promotes a different system of education than the one we see in Ontario. It’s called School Choice.
A school choice system of education is created through charter schools. Similar to public schools, charter schools are publicly funded but with two major differences: they operate autonomously (such as through a parent, teacher, or an administrative board); and they cater to the specific needs and uniqueness of your child.
For example, your son or daughter may have an aptitude towards the arts. A charter school will cater to subjects such as music while implementing the standard curriculum. Charter schools focus on the individual child’s strengths, thus enabling a child to reach their potential in learning. These schools may specialize in subjects such as maths and sciences or fine arts. They may be academically oriented or athletically oriented. Schools for gifted students or schools for children who require special learning thrive under the charter system.
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine being able to offer your child a possibility to reach their potential.
Charter schools have already been implemented in many US states and in the province of Alberta, Canada. Dozens of studies continuously indicate that when compared to the public school model, charter schools always come out on top. This recent study, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, received partial funding from The Society for Quality Education and reveals fascinating information on how charter schools compare to public schools in the province of Alberta: http://societyforqualityeducation.org/reports/taleoftwocities.pdf
School choice doesn’t increase the taxpayer’s cost of educating a child but it does generally increase the level of satisfaction that parent’s have in their child’s education. And most importantly, it develops happier, better educated children.
When choice is offered, it creates competition. And the end result of competition is almost always a better product.
As a mother of three boys, I have come to appreciate how different each child can be despite the fact that they share the same genes, grew up in the same household, and eat the same diet. Despite their DNA and similar life experiences, they somehow developed into very unique, distinct individuals.
I don’t need to tell parents with more than one kid that children learn differently. What sparks each of their curiosity is distinctive. Subjects that seem like a chore to my eldest son, such as mathematics, are thoroughly fascinating to my youngest child; and vice-versa.
In Ontario, those families who can afford it are allowed to opt out of the one-size-fits-all public school system in order to educate their children in an environment that they believe works best via private schools.
But if we allow wealthy Ontarians access to a school that they believe best suits their children’s educational needs, why not extend the same freedom to the rest of us?
Here’s one of the most important arguments in favour of school choice.
Think about the impact school choice will have for Ontario’s future. The primary goal of investing in publicly funded education for children has to be to develop our youth into global leaders for the next generation. We want the best health care, the best legal system, the best engineering, the best artists, and so on. Every child has so much potential to become almost anything they wanted to and our schools have the ability to inspire those goals. Our public education system shouldn’t be what prevents them from achieving their ultimate potential. By allowing parents to choose which school or education system best suits their children, we can give the next generation the advantages they need to make Ontario even better.
The best person to decide what would benefit a child’s uniqueness and potential are their parents.
It’s essential for parents in Ontario to start this discussion and push our elected representatives to have it on our behalf.
In the meantime, the Society for Quality Education promotes learning tools designed for the thousands of children who are struggling in our current Ontario education system.
Children are the foundation of our future. Help them realize their potential by offering it to them through school choice.