Should charter schools or home schooling be encouraged or discouraged as a means of educating America's children?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that this is probably going to be one of the essential questions that will drive American education for the next decade.  It is an important one that will require a great deal of discussion and thought.  For my part, I think that there is a sensibility about American education that encourages freedom of choice.  There should be enough avenues available to satisfy whatever path a parent would like to go in educating their child.  If the emphasis on education is there and is underscored in good faith and with the resources to deliver quality instruction, parents/ guardians should be able to delve into different options for their children.

That being said, I am afraid that other options such as charter schools and home schooling are being advocated as replacement of public education.  I am not sure there has been a time in the last three decades where public education is taking a beating in terms of legislative and social perception.  Many have used avenues like charter schools and home schooling as not alternatives to public education, but as means to replace it.  I am not in favor of this.  Part of what makes this country so wonderful is that public access to education for all of its children.  From the advocacy of Horace Mann and John Dewey all the way to the present, the quality of education in America's public schools is something that so many other children in so many other parts of the world look at with envy.  Rather than advocate avenues that are means to replacing the public education system, I believe that we need to commit ourselves in both legislation and public emphasis to see our public education system as being fortified as something within which all of American children can benefit.  I believe in the public education system, and while there has been a recasting of public policy to move the spectrum towards privatizing public entities, education should not be one of these.  Charter schools and home schooling are acceptable and should be part of the American educational lexicon for its children.  Yet, these should not be used as political sledgehammers to obliterate the public education system that has been a part of the nation's sensibilities towards advancement of a great democracy.

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