The Washington Post usually operates as the company newsletter, with the federal government the company, of course. Today, however, the Post ran an article that indirectly makes a powerful argument for school choice and empowering families.
Darryl Robinson, an African-American freshman at Georgetown, writes about how his time in D.C. public schools, even relatively better charter schools, left him unprepared for college:
Entering my freshman year at Georgetown University, I should have felt as if I’d made it. The students I once put on a pedestal, kids who were fortunate enough to attend some of the nation’s top private and public schools, were now my classmates. Having come from D.C. public charter schools, I worked extremely hard to get here.
But after arriving on campus before the school year, with a full scholarship, I quickly felt unprepared and outmatched — and it’s taken an entire year of playing catch-up in the classroom to feel like I belong. I know that ultimately I’m responsible for my education, but I can’t help blaming the schools and teachers I had in my early years for my struggles today.
It's an arresting article that explores the extraordinary frustrations of a kid who obviously is talented and determined to learn. Brought up by his grandmother, he was accused of cheating when he did well! He writes: "Failure was more believable than achievement."
Children in broken families and broken communities will never have an easy time breaking out. But the monopoly government school system often seems determined to hold them back. We desperately need an educational process which better responds to families and students. We need a system with far more educational choices, especially for the most disadvantaged.
Thankfully, it looks like Darryl Robinson will make it, with extraordinary personal effort and grandmotherly support. But it shouldn't be so hard for him and so many other kids like him.