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Choice: The open marriage solution to education

by: Eric B.

Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 13:19:40 PM EST

Remember when Willard said that the best way to rebuild our inner cities was to compel people into monogamous relationships? Right.

James Goenner, president of the National Charter Schools Institute, says the charter movement is still fairly young; in Michigan, charter schools have only existed since the mid-1990s. So growing pains are expected. This is especially true in cities like Detroit and Flint where parents didn't have much choice until charters came on the scene.

Goenner believes parents have taken to choosing schools pretty quickly, and that they will get better with time. Goenner also warns against those who say it's time to start slowing down on new schools. As he says, "too many choices for whom?"

Willard's retort would be, "Too many choices for the inner city kids who need a father and a mother who are committed to each other."

Now, Willard was just being laughable when it comes to rebuilding our cities, but not when it comes to a child's education. A parent's job isn't finished when they pick a school. A parent's job is to make sure the school is doing the job of educating the child properly and to support the school in doing it. It's very much like our model for a successful marriage -- the parent becomes engaged in the child's education and works with the school as a partner to see it through. That means keeping an eye on how the child performs in the classroom, how the child approaches homework, and how the school does its job. That means paying attention to and participating in district governance.

The idea of providing a bunch of options isn't much different than telling someone that merely getting married doesn't preclude sex with other people, and that if things don't quite work out perfectly it's acceptable to just go jump in the next person's bed. The kids won't get hurt.

The problem is that the education as business product model provides parents no incentive for involving themselves in a child's education. You don't walk into a 7-11 and start criticizing the clerk's goatee as unprofessional. If you don't like the clerk's facial hair, you go elsewhere. That might work out fine for Slurpees, but Junior ain't a highly processed, sugary iced beverage; and neither is his schoolin'.

Eric B. :: Choice: The open marriage solution to education
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