If you have spoken with me about the possibilities of engaging learning for all students, you know I am passionate about the topic. So much so, that I embarked on a journey of research for my doctoral dissertation that focused on how to serve students whose learning needs don’t quite fit inside that traditional classroom box. Yet, it is my firm belief that providing this is within our reach and an unparalleled challenge to ensure that all students access the curriculum in a way that suits their personal fingerprint.
Recently, state legislation surfaced that intended to redirect funds from charter schools. Some go as far as to say that even privatized education should not be allowed. But I put a challenge on that: instead of shutting down those opportunities, even if they appear to only serve the “elite,” let’s bring these opportunities to our public school system for those that need them.
At the end of the day, it isn’t the fabulous gymnasium with fancy equipment, state-of the-art stage and lighting, or gourmet cafeterias at elite schools that produce Ivy League scholars. It is the curriculum. It’s the expectations. And students in our public schools who find themselves on that path, who show the potential for acceptance at such schools, deserve the opportunity to access curriculum that will prepare them to compete with students who have attended the prep school. In other words, for students who need that type of preparation, let’s find out what is working to prepare students from prep schools and bring it to our public school charges.
Instead of trying to squash charter schools, let’s look at why some leave the traditional public school system in favor of a charter school. The way to grow stronger is to learn from those having success. What purpose does it serve to force individuals to stay in a system that may not work for them. Of course, there are plenty of students who may thrive in the current educational system. But clearly, data indicates there are many who do not. Education is not a one-size-fits-all and it is about time that the truth of providing more tailored learning opportunities for students is spoken. Students who are ready to work ahead, deserve to do so. Students who need extra support in an area, deserve to receive it an an effective, research-based way. Students who learn better with alternative seating, deserve the opportunity to explore that option, while those who need a more formal setting, deserve that as well. While this topic is truly a complex labyrinth and necessitates looking at the importance of early intervention and proper learning disability designation, as well as true identification of the gifted amongst us, the idea that by blocking access to some will somehow provide equity is a path that would like to avoid the hard work to provide our kids with what they truly deserve. Our world is changing all around us. Let’s make sure our schools keep up!
When you teach, you touch the future and that’s a pretty amazing place to be!
If you would like more ideas on how to apply differentiation and making curriculum accessible for all students, check out my website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.