San Miguel and Our Education System


Providence Journal reporter Jacqueline Tempera’s use of the term “social justice” might be a red flag to conservative readers, but the San Miguel School is a poster project for school choice:

When Wolf first worked at San Miguel School, in 1997, he said it was a bit like “the wild west.” The teachers, Wolf included, were young and in their first years on the job. The four middle school classrooms at its original Carter Street building would fit into the gymnasium in the current school on Branch Avenue.

“Most young teachers coming into urban core have an intense and great desire to heal all and save the world,” said Wolf, reflecting on his own ideals as a 20-something leading classrooms of at-risk children. “Most of us come to this with open eyes and open hearts so wide you’re a little naive.”

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When they aren’t restricted with bureaucratic strings, political mandates, and labor contracts, teachers and schools can focus on their areas of passion and experiment with ways to reach the students who are actually in their classrooms in ways specific to those students.

As I’ve said before, we should think of our society’s education system as all of the ways that we educate our children, not as a franchise of government-branded schools.  And if we understand our education system in that way, then it’s an injustice to discriminate against children and families just because their interests and needs don’t match the mass-production requirements of a regular district school and force them to pay for education twice, once through taxes and once through some other means.

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