The aim of redefinED is to report and reflect on the way parental choice is transforming public education as we know it. For more than a century, public education was largely defined by the link between a household and its assigned neighborhood school. Choice has scrambled the deck and, in the process, pushed us all to come to terms with a world in which the decisions parents make are increasingly shaping the agenda.
Our goal is to move beyond the fractious debate that treats neighborhood school assignment and school choice as though they are somehow mortal enemies. We endeavor to examine the opportunities and real-world challenges of customizing learning for each child, and we do so from a state that is the national leader in educational choice. In Florida today, nearly half of all preK-12 students attend a school other than the one assigned by their street address.
Readers should know this blog is published by a nonprofit, Step Up For Students, that administers state-supported scholarships serving more than 100,000 children with financial, educational and special needs. But redefinED isn’t a promotional vehicle for vouchers or private-school scholarships. Rather, our editors and writers aim to use their collective expertise to speak more broadly about how this explosion of alternatives – magnet schools, open enrollment, career academies, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, online courses, charter schools, education savings accounts, vouchers – is redefining education.
This new path is guided by the belief that different children learn in different ways, an educational tenet that reaches across ideological and partisan lines and through the decades. One poignant example comes to us from 1978, when Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the progressive Democratic senator from New York, spoke of the urgent need for “diversity” and “pluralism” and “variety.” Moynihan said: “We cherish these values, and I do not believe it excessive to ask that they be embodied in our national policies for American education.”
Please join our dialogue.