Letter: Meaningful change can start with alternative education – Mountain Xpress

I hope we don’t return to “normal.” The trappings of what we call “normal” in our current world are part of the causes of the anxiety and lack of trust in our government. Let’s rejuvenate the American dream in Asheville by taking positive action. We can start by supporting the values of educating children. I predict that in 50 years or so, educators and the public will see today’s approach to schooling as a relic of the past — perhaps as we view a Model T Ford of 1908.

The Aug. 25 Mountain Xpress article, “Changing Classrooms: Buncombe County Schools Enrollment Drops as Nontraditional Options Grow” signals an ongoing trend for meaningful change. Andrea Olson is commendable and hits upon an important aspect of learning in this description in the article: “All look more like play than class.” Early childhood education offers a better model of learning that honors and develops the whole human, but in later grades, schooling is equipped for an industrial world that no longer exists.

Children are forced into a curriculum that has not fulfilled the American dream for many — preparing children for the workplace and conformity. It is enforced schooling, homework and grading that undermine the intrinsic motivation to learn. Standardized testing fosters shame, cynicism and cheating on many levels, and can develop excessive pride for those who feel superior.

There are alternative programs: home schooling, Montessori, charter schools, among others attempting to meet our children’s needs. But even these schools in a way