If you’re still reading, let me again reiterate that my goal in writing hasn’t been to convince you to come to Petra or other schools like ours, but to encourage you to support the choice of others to do so. The goal is not to shut down good schools, but to provide parents with as many good educational options for their students as possible. You want this for your kids, I want this for mine, and I would guess that both of us are hopeful for everyone else’s kids as well.
So where do we go from here? My offer to grab coffee still stands, as I’m glad to interact and genuinely engage in the school choice discussion with you. Maybe you haven’t thought much about it and are looking for someone to listen and ask questions as you process. Maybe you have thought a lot about it and have ideas that you’d like to take for a test-drive without getting run off the road. I’d be up for either of those conversations.
The conversation I wouldn’t be up for is one that isn’t a conversation. As mentioned at the beginning of my letter, the narrative surrounding education seems to rarely allow for honest discussion between two people who want the best for their kids. Instead, we have allowed the debate to be hijacked by politicians on both sides of the aisle and a news media who delight in covering their reductionist talking points that don’t get at the complications beneath the considerations.
If National School Choice Week accomplishes anything each year, it brings up the questions of what parents’ goals are for their student(s) and their education, what those goals require in order to be met, and what options they have to meet them. Those are the conversations in which I’m interested – conversations about real options for parents and their students. Here’s a summary video created by EdChoice of four such possibilities:
One size does not fit all and there is no perfect school. These are two statements that, try as administrators might (and hate to admit), are truisms – obvious and accurate expressions not stating anything new. But what isn’t a truism is that the education of our kids has to stay the same – pedagogically, legislatively, financially – if we truly live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. For the sake of our children and our children’s children, let’s not cower to limits and fear.
Again, thanks for taking the time to read this letter. And thanks for seriously considering the possibilities of how education in America could work with more good choices for parents and the resources to support them.