by Sue Walsh
Although we use planes, trains, and boats to navigate our way around the world, the vehicle we travel in most often is the car.
Let’s talk about that car, and let’s talk about CHOICE.
The life of a car? 10 years (typically) and replaceable.
The life of a child? Infinite (always) and irreplaceable.
As car consumers, we check out information available to us; the more costly the purchase, the more investigation we might do. We check out the latest crash safety test results, repair record, fuel economy, and comparable costs for other vehicles. We do this when we have CHOICE, when we have the resources to select what we want and the access to make that CHOICE. We walk into the local dealership with the most recent copy of Consumer Reports and make a smart CHOICE.
What about someone who needs to buy a car for less than $2000—do those resources of information mean as much to those consumers? Not really. It’s just doing the best you can with what’s available to you, and with the limited CHOICES available, you hope for the best. What other CHOICE do you have?
As education consumers, we compare, evaluate, and make a CHOICE. When we have resources and the access those resources allow. What data do we examine? Student performance data, high school graduation rates, and college matriculation and success rates are not unlike test crash data. How will students fare out there in the real world of middle school when they leave elementary school? In the real world of high school when they leave middle school? In the real world of college when they make that jump into the post-secondary world? When we have CHOICE, we buy a house or rent an apartment in the community with the schools we want for our children. When we have CHOICE, we access the best schools we can. For families without resources, there is little to no CHOICE, and well, families just have to hope for the best. This is what drives us in the work – ensuring that under our watch, under our leadership, every child has access to a QUALITY CHOICE.