America’s public education system has its roots in the pre-Internet era – before cars, before electricity and even before our Constitution. Boston Latin School was founded in 1635—and most of the time since then, factors such as geographic location (zoning), economic status, race, and gender have played defining roles in determining who can attend institutions.
Although government-run education has changed drastically over the centuries, one negative has remained: the neighborhood your child still lives in Decide big The quality of their education – which in turn affects everything from employment to prison rates.
Despite nearly 400 years of progress, geography remains the stubbornly determining factor for the quality of a child’s education. Therefore, although education is the great equivalent, we have not been able to apply it equally.
If we are bold enough to try, I believe we can find a solution to the persistent zoning problem that has plagued education for so long.
In recent years, homeschooling is more common than ever, due in large part to COVID-19 responses and questionable curricula taught by public schools. Parents have rightly sought alternative educational systems, such as homeschooling, to ensure that their children receive a quality education.
Homeschooling works for many students. However, there are some who could benefit from an alternative education system at home, which provides structure and opportunities for individual learning and social interaction. Parents should wear a lot of hats already – we also shouldn’t expect them to teach every subject and level of study either.
Every day I speak with parents who want something better for their children. I have three school-aged sons, so I got that. Years ago, I became more familiar with (and more frustrated with) the education they were receiving, so I decided to get involved. She served on the Collier County School Board, founded and served on educational boards and organizations, and eventually launched a network of charter schools in Florida.
Recent advances in technology – especially virtual reality – have allowed us to launch a school that is the first of its kind in all of Florida that completely eliminates the problem of zoning and geography. We have created Optima Classic Academy As an option for a no-tuition classic 3rd-8th grade charter school for students to get high-quality education in virtual reality classrooms, no matter where they live.
This approach can eliminate our zoning problem. For the first time, we have a solution that delivers quality education to K-12 students in every neighborhood across our country. If we are bold enough to try, we can give every American child the tools they need to succeed. We can finally say goodbye to the 400 years of letting something like geography dictate life’s paths.
Our concept is not for every student. However, it is an example of what can happen when parents become involved in their children’s education and look outside the box for solutions. There is tremendous value in our approach, and I hope it will inspire more and more parents to get more involved in their children’s education.
Isn’t it time to push publicly funded education into the twenty-first century?
Erica Donalds is a National School Choice advocate, mother of three, former member of the school board and wife of U.S. Representative Byron Donalds (FL-19).