Education reform is a unique issue because it is a nonpartisan one. In a nation where our citizens and lawmakers are polarized to the point of total gridlock, education reform unites leaders and parents of widely varying political views. After all, our kids cannot even vote- but if they could- do you suppose that they would vote for uniform curriculums that follow a two-dimensional, monotonous model of one-size-fits-all methods and strategies from a bygone era of factory efficiency, mass scale, and minimal innovation and individualism?
Would our kids vote to increase their class size and decrease access to technological innovations, in order to secure early retirements and plump pension plans for teachers and administrators? No, they obviously would not support today’s educational establishment that seeks to preserve its monopoly on power while denying innovation and individualization in the classroom and in communities that have very unique needs. Our kids need champions who demand alternatives to the status quo which stubbornly clings to our failing educational system, destroying dreams, unique gifts and talents, and curiosity in its path. Our kids need parents to speak up for them, refusing to accept the relentless pursuit of this tired educational factory model of uniformity that permeates many American schools.
Rest assured that there is a myriad of alternative methodologies and models from which to choose. And these choices are not untried, thanks to daring independent schools, public magnet schools, and public charter schools. Research-based education exists, but laziness within this sluggish, lethargic, and unresponsive system prevents its implementation. Perhaps it seems risky to take bold action, but it is simply foolhardy to refuse to do so. When kids are languishing every day, eight hours a day, in classrooms that do not begin to meet their needs, hand-wringing and sympathy do not suffice.
Do not tell me that you are a supporter of freedom, free enterprise, competition, or American innovation if you simultaneously stand with the established power-brokers and power-mongers of our public education system. Do not tell me that you are frustrated and want to find solutions, too, when you deny every opportunity to implement reforms and community level changes. Parents and concerned citizens must be unafraid and unyielding in calling for immediate action, innovation, and improvement in our children’s educational opportunities.
We must demand more choices, and we cannot accept the excuses of the past when it is the future which our kids will face that hangs in the balance.
-by Rhonda Gatch