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Choice in Schools or Choice in Education?

We hear a lot about school choice. And while that would probably improve the U.S. education system, what we really need is choice in education. When most people think about education, they think of traditional schools. But Professor Stephen Davies says we are seeing a revolution in the delivery of education, both in the United States and abroad.

Private institutions, which are prevalent in many parts of the world, have more flexibility than traditional schools and do not necessarily conform to the traditional ideas of what a school is. Similarly, the homeschooling movement in the United States has become a major social movement for which all kinds of educational forms are developing. Parents’ cooperatives, learning centers, and all kinds of learning providers are now delivering education to homeschooled students in a more flexible, home-centered but not totally home-based, way than ever before.

What has caused these revolutionary changes in education? Professor Davies says the Internet and other technologies are one main source of the changes. The main reason, however, is social transformation. New forms of education reflect the goals and desires of parents and pupils rather than those of governments, large firms, or political movements of any kind. These changes indicate that we’re heading for a radical transformation in the way education is delivered. Professor Davies says, “This can only be an enormous change for the better.”

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Choice in Schools or Choice in Education?

Choice in schools is good and would improve the existing system, but what we really need is choice in education, which is much, much more than that.
You may not realize this, but we’re currently living through a revolution in education. We’re seeing a revolution—a complete transformation—in the way education is carried out and delivered, both here in the United States and also worldwide. Most people, when they think of education, think of schools. What we are seeing now is a move away from the traditional school as a way of delivering education.
In many of the poorest parts of the world, the great majority of children of school-going age attend private institutions, which are much more flexible than the traditional school, which don’t conform to the traditional ideas of what a school is. In Brazil, for example, almost 70 percent of children of school-going age attend institutions of this kind. In the United States, the homeschooling movement has turned into a major social movement in which all kinds of educational forms are developing: parents’ cooperatives, learning centers, independent learning providers of all kinds. Delivering education in a much more flexible, home centered, but no longer totally home-based way.
Where has all this come from? Well, there are two main sources. One, obviously, is technology. The advent of the Internet has made all kinds of educational innovation and provision much more possible than was the case before. The other, though, and the main reason, is that what we have here is a social transformation. All kinds of people, both parents and pupils, are voluntarily cooperating together to provide an education that they control, one that reflects their goals and desires rather than those of governments, large firms, or political movements of one kind or another. So where is all this going?
Well, what we’re seeing is something very exciting: a radical transformation of the way education is delivered. We’re moving into a new world in which people will be educated in quite a different way, and above all, a world in which people will control and direct their own education in a way which they have not done for over 200 years now. And this can only be an enormous change for the better.
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