The monopoly of public education is not long for this world
Our one-size-fits-all public education model simply falls short of the challenges facing a post-pandemic world. Although, to be fair, that didn’t really get him out of the park before the pandemic either. Nevertheless, the seismic disturbances of our world – economically, socially and culturally – demonstrate the full extent of the shortcomings of such a system.
As usual, government-run businesses have lagged behind in the evolutionary race to provide real solutions for parents and students. As a new school year begins and we finally open up to in-person learning, the inflexibility we’ve seen plaguing the system during shutdowns isn’t going to suddenly become irrelevant.
We are already seeing political disagreements over masks, curricula and limited school closures, causing serious conflict in various communities. Aside from the academic failures of some of our traditional public schools, political disagreements over how and what children should be taught have become an increasingly controversial issue, with many parents still feeling decidedly disenfranchised by the prolonged chaos of last year.
From mask-making policies to flirting with “critical race theory” in the curriculum, school board meetings across the country are becoming increasingly tense as more parents voice outrage against a system that has been exposed as irresponsible to the very communities for which it was ostensibly designed. to serve.
It’s no wonder that dissatisfaction with the status quo has prompted many parents to find ways to escape the system, despite the severely limited alternatives many families have to neighborhood public schools here in Nevada. From home schooling to micro-schools to charter schools, parents have seized any alternative to try to regain control of their children’s education from a political and bureaucratic monopoly.
And while it may be tempting to blame the last year of closures, chaos and confusion for the current wave of educational choices we are seeing in other parts of the country, the truth is that the public school, in it. itself, inherently fuels much of the deeper conflicts occurring in board meetings and parent groups. After all, such a conflict is practically inevitable when it comes to forcing various people into a single (politically managed) system.
In other words, in an increasingly diverse and ideologically disparate culture, a “one-size-fits-all” solution is simply not going to appeal to everyone. Even in the best of circumstances, the politicians and administrators who run our public education apparatus would not be able to respond to the wide range of personal preferences and concerns expressed by families facing their own challenges. In times as uncertain, chaotic and politically divided as they are now, these gaps are even more pronounced.
This explains the growing number of educational choice supports across the country and its popularity here in Nevada. After all, the main advantage of choice is that government, an inherently political enterprise, would not be solely responsible for providing a single “answer” to the disparate concerns of families. The sheer diversity offered by a competitive and robust marketplace would ensure that someone, somewhere, will offer solutions that the government simply does not offer.
And it is – not just last year’s COVID closures or ongoing program disputes – what has doomed the traditional monopoly on public education. Even if education officials were able to identify and successfully implement the “best” education framework, there would still be countless families desperate to bring their children (and education dollars). elsewhere if given the opportunity. After all, as the old saying goes, “it’s impossible to please everyone”.
And perhaps that is why the current monopoly system has worked so tirelessly to decimate even modest proposals to increase access to educational alternatives. They know that many families would use such alternatives, regardless of the education “fixes” promised by school districts or lawmakers. And, because fewer families in public classrooms could mean less educational dollars for the facility, the system’s staunch opposition to choice programs makes fiscal sense.
However, desperately clinging to a single system is a doomed position for countless students, even at the best of times. To do so at this present time is an even more serious injustice. And while teacher unions, public education insiders, and other anti-choice forces may continue to reign in Carson City, they are quickly losing influence over the people who should really matter most in the community. educational policy: the parents themselves.
Michael Schaus is Director of Communications at the Nevada Policy Research Institute