As parents, you have more school choices available now than at any time in recent history. There are traditional public schools, usually part of a larger district that range from very large urban districts, to smaller and more affluent suburban districts to rural districts with only one, two or three schools.
This summer will mark the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But it also marks the start of an ambitious effort to break up New Orleans' long-beleaguered public school system and replace it with a market-based system in which charter schools compete for customers, in this case students and parents, and for top test scores.
My role as an unapologetic advocate for public education in the most affluent predominately African-American county in America often turns a trip to the park into a lesson on why large public education systems struggle, and why successful parents may be asking the wrong questions before making choices for their children.
To what extent can public charter schools can learn from some of the best ideas that undergird our nation's most outstanding, innovative private schools? It was this question that led the founding principal and executive director of a new, not-yet-opened charter school to spend a few days in the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside late last fall.