Over at Beyond Partisan, a website developed to have honest and sane discourse, an essay appeared about school vouchers.
The BP editors write:
"To sustain our international economic standing, we must define a national educational agenda that autonomous schools agree to include. "
The autonomous school intrigues me. After watching thirty Central Office staffers bumble around our campus registering students for summer school, the autonomous school greatly intrigued me this morning. But, that is not what I care to write about today.
What does the truly autonomous school look like? Certainly we can agree that we, as a nation, should hold our students to high standards. Yet, it seems that the more hands that grabbed onto the system, the less effective it became. I am not sure what exactly the federal government has every really done better than the entrepeneur except the military. Social security will fail my generation. FEMA and Homeland Security failed the people of New Orleans. And the Education Department is currently in the middle of botching up the very thing they are expected to move forward.
The editors wrote earlier, "However, they [vouchers] are the right choice: the Dutch do tulips, the French do cheese, and we [the United States] do markets." What would happen in if we really unleashed the education system? If we took off the restraints of micromanagement and beauracracy? The fear, and understandably so, is that the rich would get richer and the poor would get poorer. We will always struggle with maintaining equal opportunity for all. Yes, that is unfortunate, and we would certainly need to safeguard against it. But for all the efforts by the federal government to eliminate this barrier, the fact that poverty still influences education remains.
Can an open market in education reach to the poorest corners of our poorest cities? I would like to believe it could. And really, does education have to be the same for everyone? My education at Northwest University, while solid, does not equal that of a Princeton graduate. I don't feel robbed by the system. Should I?