Choice: It’s a Beautiful Thing

Imagine with me, if you will, that you just bought a new home. You are so excited. The rooms are spacious, the neighborhood lovely, and the surrounding community is spectacular. The area is loaded with restaurants, museums, orchestras, and cultural opportunities galore. All to entertain and educate you and your children. You wander around your new dwelling staring at boxes and dreaming of the future.

Suddenly, your dream is interrupted by a knock at the door. Wondering who it is, you peek through the door. It’s a face you don’t recognize. You greet the stranger warmly. He, however, appears to be all business. “Are you Mrs. Jones the new homeowner?”

“Why, yes I am. Is there a problem? Did my dog get loose? Buster come back!” You yell out the door. “Oh, he loves to explore. Just like my children. That’s why we bought this house, you know. There’s so much to see and do. It’s just wonderful. I can’t wait to take them on Monday to the Chinese restaurant down the road. Have you been there?” You ramble on hoping to snag his interest and ease the tension in the air.

“No, I haven’t and that’s just what I’d like to talk to you about.” He proceeds to explain that because you have purchased the home at 123 Maple you are only allowed to do certain things. You are only permitted to eat at one restaurant. – the Italian restaurant across the road. The only grocery store you can frequent is Jack’s Pack N Save about 10 miles away. The only entertainment venue you can visit is the Starlight Theater that shows second run movies and hosts an Elvis week once a month. He also informs you that the foreign model car currently parked in your driveway is not permissible on county roads. But don’t worry, there is a bus available to pick you up at a designated time if transportation is a problem.

“What do you mean?” You howl in protest. “I can’t eat there. I”m allergic to tomatoes! In fact, I don’t like any of those choices you have selected for me. Why should I have to eat, shop, and entertain my family at those selections simply because I bought this house? And I can’t drive my car? That’s ridiculous. It’s down right unAmerican. Isn’t there anything I can do about it?”

The man smiles slightly and replies, “Sure, you can go pay each of those businesses assigned to your address a fee. We have set up a seamless deduction system where the money is taken out of your pay each week. You won’t even notice its gone. We have found that to be the best way to make sure that everyone’s needs are taken care of equally. Then as long as your fees are paid up  we will give you a voucher you are free to visit any other establishment you choose.   Just look for the Common Core State Standards symbol that signifies that the establishment meets all national standards.”

Outraged, you furiously attempt to refute his absurd suggestion, “If I pay those establishments through the seamless deduction system, I will have very little money left for my own choices. I can’t afford both. And your voucher is useless because the only choice you’re giving me is the ones that meet your Common Core State Standard.  That’s no choice at all.”

“Sorry, that’s the way it is. Congratulations on your new home.” He hands you a form to sign and leaves.

Questions: If we would never accept this in any other area of our life…why do we accept it in something as important as the education of our children?

Don’t be fooled by school choice proponents who support the Common Core.  True school choice allows a parent to choose any school that meets their child’s needs not just those that adopt Common Core State Standards and assessments.