Choice in education is as precious a right as choice in the marketplace, choice in religion, choice in government. Where parents are fortunate enough to be able to exercise that right, the decisions they make can have lifetime consequences, so critical is schooling in the early years. While this guide is directed particularly to those who are considering independent schools, the questions it suggests are appropriate for any school.
A Modern Dilemma
A parent who is genuinely ambitious for her child looks forward to giving her the best of educations, from nursery through college, because she knows she has no greater gift to confer. However, in times of economic hardship that same parent imagines a dilemma, that she will lack funds for both independent school and college and that she will have to opt for one or the other. This need not be so.
An 18-year-old who is in all ways prepared for college will go to college if he genuinely wants to go: he will find the means through financial aid and part-time work. A 5-year-old, however, cannot choose, nor can he wait. He has the one chance his parents create for him. What he learns, what he becomes in the elementary and secondary years, sets the pattern for his lifetime. In those years he learns how to use his mind. He learns how to learn. He learns to read, to write to speak, to see, to listen, to organize, to calculate, to evaluate. He learns moral standards. He learns how to deal with his fellow humans in varying relationships. He acquires a fundamental grasp of the major areas of knowledge; language, literature, history, the arts, the social sciences, physical sciences, mathematics. He learns to develop and to use his physical and creative capacities. One cannot ignore the critical years during which the child becomes an adult.