Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Schools are like police and fire departments?

Recently, The State continued their defense of the status quo in public education with a false analogy.
While we think it makes sense to let parents choose between public schools when that’s workable, we’re not convinced that it’s the duty of the taxpayers to fund such choices, any more than it’s the duty of the government to let people choose which police or fire department in the county (or state) will rush to their rescue when they call 911.
This is a bad analogy that fails to grasp the power of innovation. During an urgent crisis, a command and control system is appropriate. When my house is in flames or when the criminal is coming toward my bedroom, I need the 911 dispatcher to get me help right now.

Education is fundamentally different. It plays out over many years when suppliers have plenty of time to create innovative solutions and consumers to make thoughtful choices. The fundamental flaw in public education today is that educators closest to the problem are stuck in a command and control culture that is highly resistant to change.

Universal, publicly funded, excellent education is essential so each child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. The State says, "we’re not convinced that it’s the duty of the taxpayers to fund such choices." What's not our duty is for the government to provide that education. The best way for us to ensure world class education is to fund each student's choice of the best education option provided by innovative educators.

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