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Education and Choice I agree with those who decide to permit choice in their district I believe that teacher and schools are permitted to choose curricula and programs they think provide the best educational products and students and parents are allowed to choose from among those products the ones best suited to their preferences and educational objectives In 1974 the quality of education in East Harlem improved beyond even the most optimistic expectations Indeed the improvement was so great that the East Harlem educators decided to enter a new market The district had been administering education through the eighth grade only in 1985 it assumed responsibility for a neighborhood high school with a graduation rate of 7 percent Although the school accepts any student who wants to attend its graduation rate now exceeds 90 percent and almost all of its graduates go on to some kind of postsecondary education The freedom of choice offered schools teachers parents and students in the East Harlem school district is unusual in public school systems today but so is the success of East Harlem schools In most school districts the curriculum and course offerings for each grade level are decided on from on high- at the level of the district or the state administrator Once it is decided that chemistry and biology but not geology are to be offered in high schools all high schools in the district typically must abide by that decision Moreover all individuals teaching chemistry generally must follow the approved study plan and se the approved book for that course without regard for the talents or interests of the particular teachers The choices available to the consumers of education-students and their parents-a re equally circumscribed Once they have chosen a place to live they are stuck with particular set of schools elementary through secondary to which they are assigned by the district
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