A couple weeks ago I reminded you that Colorado’s public school open enrollment season is fast approaching, and mentioned a series of school choice expos hosted by Denver Public Schools (DPS). As it turns out, Colorado Public Radio’s Jenny Brundin attended one of the expos and filed an interesting report about “The Middle School Freak Out” (H/T Ed News Colorado).
Sometimes it’s easy for policy wonks like my friends in the Education Policy Center to focus on the abstract — the numbers and the philosophical debates. A story like Brundin’s, with interviews of students and parents, quickly reminds you that policy changes like expanded choice within DPS have ramifications sometimes not considered. Sure, it means various families have more educational options, but what does that look like in real life?
Choice can be empowering and liberating, but it’s also messy sometimes. The Public Radio story shines a light on the special distress that often accompanies the transition from elementary to middle school. (I’m not even close to being there yet, so don’t ask me what it’s all about.) Some families avoided the dilemma by enrolling students years before into one of the growing number of Colorado’s K-8 schools. But for those who need to make the transition, Denver now offers an unprecedented array of options — including, as the story points out, a (yucky) all-girls school.
Most interesting, though, is what Brundin captures about the process itself. She quotes one mom as saying: Continue Reading »