The PSS Or Alternative School Choices By: Anthony Pellegrino

Posted on Oct 11 1999

In the minds of many people, the public school system has become stagnant in its attempt to provide a good education for its youth. Parents are demanding that the pubic schools do something about the problem. Federal and local governments are screaming for reform lamenting that no matter how much money they allocate, results are dismal. Inner-city children are especially vulnerable and are increasingly dropping out and turning to crime as an alternative to going to school.

Previously I wrote about the two major pedagogical philosophies in the education arena wrestling for the minds and hearts of our children. This difference in educational philosophy has also added to the dissatisfaction with public school education. As a result, innovative types of schooling are springing up in an attempt to create a higher quality of education which many parents feel the public school system lacks.

With the increasing demand for higher quality of education, states and communities are providing more options to families. By doing so, they feel they are not only improving the education opportunity for children, but also are having a dramatic impact on how public schools operate in their communities. The most important options are full school choice program also called voucher tuition, charter schools, home schooling, and private scholarship programs.

Increasing evidence of success that these programs can generate, particularly for disadvantaged children, is causing lawmakers to seriously consider addressing education reform with new rigor. School choice is a freedom that’s gaining national favor. In the last two years, over 20 polls have found growing support for school choice. This reaction shows strong disapproval for the current condition of education and, as a result, strong support for school choice.

We must be interested in what is available for improving the education of our children. Too many people feel that the standard public school system can no longer operate under the premises that “one size fits all.” As parents we must search for the best opportunities available for our child. It resembles a search for the best medical treatment for our child. After all, education is mental development of the child and we must demand the best.

The complexity of current society with its immeasurable demands on the public school system have changed dramatically so that the school of today barely resembles the school of fifty years ago except in its physical plant appearance. If we are to provide for the increasing needs of our children and meet the responsibilities bestowed upon the school system, we must investigate the alternative school choices available today. Not only is change inevitable, but also necessary.

In the next few columns let’s examine the various alternative school choices that are open to parents. We’ll first look at the public school system, along with some of its handicaps for attaining a level of education that satisfies everyone Our discussion will include charter schools, the voucher system, home schooling, and private scholarship programs. The articles will provide only an explanation of them, not a discussion.

Recently there is proliferation of private schools in the CNMI. WE should ask why there are there currently at least fifteen (1 5) church-related and non-church related schools in Saipan alone in addition to the three or four in Tinian and Rota competing against the public school system. Each year one or two new ones are being opened. What does this mean?

As an informed parent, you must make an educated decision as to which school is the best for your child. Only you can decide the best school that fits your child’s needs. Hopefully the following articles will assist you. (To be continued)

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