This is a boom time for parental choice in education. Frankly, that’s pretty scary to me.
I’m not talking about the school voucher program or charter schools, or other things like that.
I’m talking about the choices parents make in how they raise their children – how they can do (or not do) things that maximize the chances of their children becoming well-educated, well-balanced, constructive adults.
Since, say, the 1960s, expectations have grown for schools to take care of an increasing range of children’s needs. That goes for academics, of course, but also for social development, recreation, mentoring and, in many cases, providing nutrition, clothing and some basics of health care. That’s especially true for schools serving low-income kids, but you’d be surprised how often it is true in all schools.
I believe that one of the things we are seeing in the continuing chaos in Madison is that the tide is cresting for schools to play such roles. Teachers and staff members are simply going to be unable to do some of the things they’ve done to make up for what parents aren’t doing.