Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pre-K must include school choice

"Preschool is hot – again," John E. Coons writes ("Pre-K must come with school choice").
It has been so, off and on, since ancient Greece. Plato’s ideal state would have imposed full-time boarding school starting at day one for all newborns, keeping them permanent strangers to their parents – those natural enemies of his perfect Republic.

The spirit of Plato has played a larger role in American public schooling than often we recognize. Still, contra Plato, our imperfect Republic still allows parents to keep their children home until age five or six, then lets those who can afford it to choose among all schools, public and private. But for the less fortunate family, it is difficult or impossible to avoid their child’s conscription for seven hours, five days a week. To that extent, Plato wins, they lose. ...

What is plain – whether compulsory or at parental discretion – is that pre-K could be an opportunity to serve both child and family, but only on one condition: the choice of the provider (and the option for authentic home schooling) must be guaranteed to the parent.

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