No One Size Fits All

If students and their individual needs are not at the heart of our choices involving education, we risk losing them in the shuffle.

by Dr. Kim Coady

Choices. So many choices. From a one-room schoolhouse to virtual learning, education runs the gamut today. It seems safe to say that this plethora of choices causes parents and educators a great deal of angst when determining the best route for students. However, the element that must be considered first and foremost is the student.

When making decisions about the education of a child, we have to keep in mind the needs of the student. Schools should no longer be operating like factories, and students should not be churned out as the newest make and model, all adhering to the same specifications. Trying to make every student fit into a specific mold has caused a tremendous amount of frustration for all involved. When we look at each student, we must consider the option that is best for the individual. 

“Schools should no longer be operating like factories, and students should not be churned out as the newest make and model, all adhering to the same specifications.”

Dr. Kim Coady

While our public schools are best equipped to offer the differentiation required for our students, they are tasked with taking on many roles that once belonged to other entities within the community. Along with that, the involvement of politics at the local, state and federal level has diluted the purpose of education in some instances. Many times, a student is lost in the shuffle if he or she does not fit into the “plan” for the year. Recently, virtual education has become a larger part of the landscape for educating our students. For some students, it has been a wonderful experience because of the hard work that teachers have invested in the process. For others, it has not been the ideal format for learning. Homeschooling is also a choice, as long as the student receives an education based on appropriate curriculum and effective instruction. Lastly, private school is an option that has always been available, but in recent years, with the passage of legislation that allows for state monies to be used for private school tuition, they have become a more viable choice for students. 

Again, it comes back to choices. As we consider the available possibilities before us when deciding on one of the most important aspects of raising our children, we cannot lose sight of the most important part of the equation: the student. 

Dr. Kim Coady is the former principal at East Newton Elementary School. She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and specialist’s degrees in early childhood education from Georgia College and State University and her PhD in Teaching and Learning: Language and Literacy at Georgia State University.

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