Speidel: There is room for all kinds of educational models, and school choice

Speidel: There is room for all kinds of educational models, and school choice

I take several of Jane Arnold's points regarding school choice (letter to the editor, Feb. 6), but not the condescension inherent in the argument that low-income parents "may not have the education, background knowledge, time or energy to research better schools," and therefore need elites to make educational decisions for them.

I'd like to see her make this claim to the face of someone like Virginia Ford, a single working mother with a troubled son who was so frustrated with that attitude that she founded the grassroots DC Parents for School Choice, and after years of hard work (and long after her son grew into adulthood), succeeded in getting Washington, D.C., to create a modest school voucher program. Virginia relates her extraordinary story in the memoir "School Choice: A Legacy to Keep."

There is room in this wonderful country for all kinds of educational models: traditional top-down-structured public school districts, more innovative and self-managed public charter schools, faith-based private schools, and secular private ones.

Children in schools that do not help them learn, or are in environments that provide poor social influences or discourage achievement, should not be trapped by powerful interest groups and the politicians that are beholden to them. Each parent should be able to choose which model works best for her or his individual child. The wants of adults should never outweigh the needs of children.

Mike Speidel