Fri, April 03

Letter: Education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor


I was surprised how strongly worded the editorial about the state approving limited vouchers. You would have thought a sacred cow had been shot. Let me state at the outset that there is and always will be a need for public schools. They have been a blessing and helped build this nation and its greatness. But since when does one size fit all? To mandate all students must remain in the public-government system is a reminder of the old Soviet government model.

There is an underlining assumption in the anti-voucher camp that is, parents are too stupid to decide what is the best way to educate their children, and that they should not have the freedom of choice. What an elitist attitude! As an amateur historian I came across an interesting statistic. During the late 1800’s, our educational system, consisted of what we now call the one-room schoolhouse. During this time the literacy was the highest the nation has ever experience. Some studies estimate the literacy rate to have been as high as 98 percent. In our modern system of education the literacy rate seldom approaches 70 percent.

Where did the accountability lie in the great success story of the one-room school? It was solely with the parents and the parents only. There was no token acknowledgment to the parents after government got its reports. Parents then didn’t simply “bring the punch and the cookies.” It was a direct unbroken line of accountability from the school to the parents. Parents made all of the decisions. As government began to take more control, without realizing it, parents began to abdicate their rights of accountability to the government.

The return of parental choice is a step in the right direction. Trust in the common man was what distinguished America from the ruling houses of the kings of Europe. The Arizona legislature has taken a big step forward in improving the education of all students, especially those who are under-served by returning freedom of choice to parents, even if it is a limited approach.

Vicki Jo Anderson


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