A wealthy Colorado county strives to become the choiciest place in America
It’s one of the great unfairnesses of our time: why are kids on the wrong side of the excellence gap getting all of the “choice”? Now, thanks to the bold innovativeness of one Colorado county, kids on the right side of the excellence divide may soon have all of the choices they can choose from. Welcome to Douglas County, the wealthiest county in all of Colorado—and soon to be the choiceiest.
Pioneers for choice
When we last visited this scenic locale, the children of Douglas County, CO, or DougCo, were hurtling towards World Class Outcomes, a new generation of “creative, financially literate critical thinkers, globally aware problem solvers, and adaptable, ethical, resilient collaborators.” But despite a Blueprint for Choice that was already giving these young edu-pioneers voucher choice and charter choice aplenty, it was widely agreed by choice advocates of all stripes and funding sources that DougCo’s children were still too stifled. The only choice, concurred the choice-loving members of DougCo’s school board, was to offer these still stifled students still more choice. Question for the 300+ teachers who are choosing to leave the district this year: why do you hate choice???
We choose choice
So DougCo’s bold visionary leaders had a great idea: why not turn the district’s remaining public schools into laboratories of choice? Beginning this fall, DougCo will transition to a so-called niche model in which schools choose a theme, parents and students choose a themed school to attend, and teachers choose a themed school at which to teach. District director of schools Brien Hodges breaks it down for us:
Parents then can choose their neighborhood school, or open-enroll each student at the school whose educational model best serves their child. It’s all about providing options, Hodges said.
“When Henry Ford created the Model T, you could have a model in any color as long as it was black,” he said. “As we’ve evolved as a society, we have choices. We can buy a Ford, or we can buy a Chevy, a foreign car or a hybrid. Parents are saying, ‘I really want choices for kids.’”
Operators are standing by
But how to choose with so many choices? If only teachers and students could pay money in order to take an online test that would give them an in depth window into their brains in about 20 minutes, then be grouped according to learning styles and preferences. Breaking news: a company called Emergenetics® has been hired by the Douglas County School District to provide just this service. Act now and for just $69 a person (35% off the usual rate) you will receive a unique Emergenetics® Profile. And wait—that’s not all. You will also receive an 8-page individualized Narrative Report that details your Profile and preferences. Operators are standing by!
What’s your choice?
How does it work? Simple! Students and teachers take a self-descriptive test that identifies their thinking and behavioral attributes. For example, Kimberly is a Blue/Green Thinker in the 1/3rd of Expressiveness, 2/3rd of Assertiveness and 2/3rd of Flexibility. This tells us that Kimberly probably likes details and looking at things very logically. But Fred has a tri-modal Profile, meaning he has three thinking preferences (Analytical, Social and Conceptual). With one Thinking preference in the Left Brain (Analytical) and two from the Right Brain (Social and Conceptual), Fred is able to empathize with other ways of thinking and understand nearly anyone. And Janet also has three preferences (Structural, Social and Conceptual). Having this kind of Profile means that Janet is likely concerned with process and work that is logical, concrete and rational.
Best of all, the Emergenetics® profile can actually show what’s going on inside the heads of the students and teachers who pay $69 each to take it. And folks, the results are in—and they are excellent. It turns out that these state-of-the-art Emergenetics® thinking pie charts all indicate the same thing: Coloradans love school choice.
The right choice
As for the preferences of DougCo’s innovator-in-chief, Dr. Elizabeth Celania-Fagen, we don’t need an Emergenetics® profile or a thinking pie chart to see inside her brain. We can read her blog, in which she clarifies once and for all that she is committed to choice and also clears up various myths and misconceptions that have taken root among the less choosy of DougCo’s residents. But why not invite Dr. Fagan to extoll the outstandingness of choosing choice at your next event? You can find her here, at the Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, where school choice has been the top choice since 1955.
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