Each child is unique and a one-size-fits-all approach to learning cannot accommodate every individual. Families know their children best and should be empowered with options for the best fit education that works for them. Wealthy and well-connected families already have these options. What about our responsibility to those children who don’t fit the traditional model offered in local schools? It’s time to give these same opportunities to all New Hampshire children.
The House Finance Committee has a critical subcommittee vote this week followed by a full committee vote on SB 193, the Education Savings Account bill. It is critical to contact them, urging their support of educational options for families. This form will send an email to the committee and your state reps; it can easily be personalized.
The following letter was written by a long-time public-school educator, Diane Murphy, and is printed with her permission.
Lucky for me, I began my career in the 1980’s when schools encouraged experiential learning, process over product, and most important of all, teaching to the whole child. It’s hard to say exactly when the tide turned, No Child Left Behind, the tragedy of Sept. 11th, a failing economy, who knows? But before too long I was expected to focus more on the deficiencies of my students than their strengths. In the last few years, my 8th graders started showing up with a malaise that shouted, “What do you want me to do now!” The answer to this question was no longer trusted by those of us in the classroom.
A few years ago I started getting sick to my stomach on my drive to school. I wanted to believe the intense focus on assessment and the drive to premeditate what and how we teach children would shift, but it wasn’t shifting, only becoming more calculated and less child-centered.
ESAs will give students who need a different path an opportunity to choose with their families how they will learn and grow. We all know no matter how flexible and creative schools try to be, some kids cannot function in the system. They may be driven by a passion for dance, baseball, horses, or Minecraft. They may suffer anxiety or depression. Some are bullied, introverted, not competitive, highly sensitive, or frustrated by the lack of intellectual peers.
I resigned from teaching a year ago and started a self-directed learning center to support teens with their families to design their own education and celebrate learning. We are a startup, relying on the generosity of numerous volunteers. We are one of many alternatives to public school in NH and adequate funding for these options is the only way to ensure that truly no child is left behind.
Please support SB 193 to ensure all our children have access to an education that works best for them.
BigFish Learning Community