What you should know about School Choice and Hispanic Heritage Month
Editor’s note: School choice is being debated in many quarters because of the potential impact on our kids. This article shares one point of view in this ongoing debate.
Want to know what the future of our educational system looks like?
Take a look at a kindergartener’s classroom for a preview because according to the latest Census, one out of every four kindergarteners is Hispanic. Further proof comes to us from the National Center for Education Statistics that recently issued a report saying that for the first time ever, U.S. public schools are projected to have more minority students than non-Hispanic whites.
Our country has always undergone demographic changes, but what makes this latest demographic shift unique is that it’s exposing the weaknesses in our current educational system. That’s because a large number of Hispanic students are not obtaining a basic High School diploma, as evidenced by this report by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
And as we know, in today’s competitive workforce, lacking a basic High School diploma ensures a life of economic hardship and chronic unemployment.
A difficult conversation
A difficult conversation to be sure, but if there was ever a time to have this discussion, why not have it during Hispanic Heritage Month when we are celebrating our diversity. You see, while the events and celebrations are wonderful reminders of Hispanic Americans’ contributions to the arts, sciences, sports and business, they should also compel us to think about our future. We should especially ask what more can be done to ensure that our educational system is keeping up with our country’s demographic changes.
A diverse student body
As our student body becomes more diverse, we ought to think about ways to better customize education. The growth of the Hispanic population is a great reminder that our children are unique, each with different personal and cultural backgrounds. And when it comes to teaching, what may work for one student, may not work with another.
In fact, this is the spirt of what’s known as National School Choice Week – which has quickly become the biggest public awareness campaign in support of school choice.
At its core, school choice is simply the idea that every parent, regardless of socioeconomic, geographic and cultural background should have the ability to decide for themselves where to send their children to school. Besides location, parents should have a long menu on the types of schools a child could choose to attend, from the traditional public school, to a public charter school, to a magnet school, to an online school, to a private school or even home schooling.
Different forms of school choice
As more and more families learn about the different forms of choice that exist, the more that parents are able to better customize their child’s education. Perhaps it’s why it shouldn’t surprise us that this form of educational choice is immensely popular and why thousands upon thousands of families and students from coast to coast join the festivities centered around National School Choice Week. From small to large events, this past years celebrations spawned over 5,500 events taking place in every state in the country.