school choice isn't much choice

English: Alton C. Crews Middle School from ent...
Alton C. Crews Middle School,
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via Wikipedia
School choice.  What a buzzword. Like free trade. Or tax relief. And like these other terms, it is not really true. School choice is sure not much choice at all for most people. But for those locked into the mass coerced structure of public schooling as it stands, almost any choice is better than nothing. The words school choice is appealing because there is no choice at all within the whole institutional structure. 

School choice is a choice of schools: it is not choice within a school and it is not a choice of schedule, courses and approach. It is a choice of schools that fit the myriad laws, regulations, and corporate supply chains that define them. These schools will follow the same massive guidelines and agendas, whatever the small differences they offer. An easy way to comprehend how little choice there is in school choice, is to imagine what real choice would look like.
  • Schools could send out surveys asking what district families need and then work to provide those services
  • Schools could provide families part-time options, full-time options, and extra-time options and any combination of these
  • Schools could offer a core curriculum that covered the basics in 2-3 hours a day and then build on that or not, as the family wanted
  • Schools could offer classes all day and into the evening and on Saturdays
  • Schools could provide transportation databases online where you can carpool and coordinate pickups; it would include bikes, too and bike-building sessions for those that need them
  • Schools could provide gardens, kitchens, and real food
  • Schools could provide resources like pianos and instruments for every kid who wants to learn, not just those in "band"
  • Schools could provide lots of classes and support groups where they share strategies on building your learning plan for your child
  • Schools could provide small business incubators  for teens
  • Schools could stop grading but provide lots of feedback on how your child was doing, conferences, online documents and extensive counseling support 
  • Schools could provide game nights, tutoring every night, speakers and events almost constantly and for families, not just kids
  • Schools could see their mission as providing learning services for families rather than policing families to provide kids for them to manufacture to spec
Now is it getting clearer?

We do not have school choice nor any choices is our system of mass, coerced schooling with its compulsory attendance laws.  School choice has appeal because what everyone wants is choice. Parents pay for the system, parents live with the child, parents have the strongest direct interest in helping the child succeed, and parents have absolutely no choices.

Do you want to attend every day for 180 days a year or be put in jail? Do you want to cajole, coerce and force your child into attending or be prosecuted by the state?

Choosing Democracy: Why School Choice Fails:
"IF you want to see the direction that education reform is taking the country, pay a visit to my leafy, majority-black neighborhood in Washington. While we have lived in the same house since our 11-year-old son was born, he’s been assigned to three different elementary schools as one after the other has been shuttered. Now it’s time for middle school, and there’s been no neighborhood option available. 
Meanwhile, across Rock Creek Park in a wealthy, majority-white community, there is a sparkling new neighborhood middle school, with rugby, fencing, an international baccalaureate curriculum and all the other amenities that make people pay top dollar to live there.
Such inequities are the perverse result of a “reform” process intended to bring choice and accountability to the school system. Instead, it has destroyed community-based education for working-class families, even as it has funneled resources toward a few better-off, exclusive, institutions."
background posts
blaming families, juvenile justice edition
bullying families and children
every parent should have real choices

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