Our Opinion: Local schools reflect approaches to education

In a coincidence of timing, the News Tribune’s Back to School section was published Sunday, a day after a Saturday story about an effort to dismantle federal education standards for local schools.

Educators and policy makers continue to debate whether governance of schools should be concentrated at the local level or established nationally to promote uniformity.

We have leaned toward local control.

In government, we support the constitutional principal of federalism, which grants to the states the powers not specifically designated to the U.S. government.

A virtue of federalism is that the states act as laboratories, which allows other states to learn from the successes and failure of lawmaking and policymaking.

Similarly, in education, a range of educational models, institutions and instructions exist.

If any one proved perfect – or even far superior to all others – everyone would gravitate to it and a federal standard would emulate it.

Educational institutions remain laboratories, and the varied experiments to provide academic excellence continue.

A reading of the Back to School section reveals both differences and similarities. For example:

Capital improvements continue at South Elementary School, a public school, and Calvary Lutheran High School. South is the recipient of renovations as part of an annual improvement plan that focuses each year on a different school. Calvary is undergoing a 25,000-square-foot expansion project.

Administrative changes will greet returning students to Lincoln University, a public higher education institution, and Helias Catholic High School, a parochial secondary school.

Education initiatives are being prepared not only at public and parochial schools, but by home educators, instructors of the Montessori method and teachers at Lighthouse Preparatory Academy, which involves parents, Christian education and college preparatory instruction.

All of the various schools in the Back to School section continue to flourish because they have found a curriculum that satisfies the academic appetite of their students and empower them to excel.

The task before them is continual improvement, which may involve additional experimentation. That task is easier to perform without the handcuffs of federal edicts.


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