Jan 23, 2018
What’s that? National School Choice Week runs from January 21 – 27 this year, and touts itself as “the world's largest celebration of opportunity in education” by advocating for alternatives to the public school system, like charter and private schools. The annual campaign has held events nationwide since 2011, with 32,240 events planned for 2018.
Sounds like a party! Hold on, though. NSCW may be a nonpartisan campaign with a lot of fans (including the current White House), but it has its fair share of detractors, including public school advocates like the National Education Association, which warns that “school choice” is really a “smokescreen for … the transfer of public money to the private sector without accountability or transparency.” Them’s fighting words!
But I’m a tutor, so what’s in it for me? Well, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a huge fan of “school choice” and doesn’t have a lot of time for public education (which she’s regularly refers to as “a dead end” for America’s children). What Secretary DeVos does have time for is personalized learning – you know, kind of what tutors do day in and day out. So if “school choice” supporters have their day in Congress (and that remains to be seen), tutors, as well as parents and students, are going to see more funding and resources going toward educational solutions outside of America’s public school classrooms.
The bottom line… Public school educators and advocates have every right to be concerned about the state of U.S. public schools, which, after all, educate 91 percent of our children. But as National School Choice Week makes abundantly clear, America’s policymakers continue to look beyond public schools as the main contender in town. Tutors, be prepared!