As a former teacher and principal in the United States, I felt fairly knowledgeable about the various approaches and theories offered by way of school choices. I ran an international school, even started up a public charter school - I thought that I was largely in-the-know about school choice.
And then, my family and I decided to move to the Netherlands. We researched the international school option - a terrific system but WAY too expensive. We then learned that Holland is the only country in the world to offer state-subsidies for students holding a Dutch passport and a passport from another country to attend international schools to help them transition into Dutch society and language. These schools are specifically developed for kids like my son who are Dutch, have lived overseas for most of his life and who may initially struggle with adapting to a school where Dutch is the primary - sole - language of instruction. These international schools allow kids coming to Holland to slowly adjust to Dutch as the language of instruction and help them to adapt to their new life 'back home'. Wow. But then the more we looked - well, actually - the more Marcel looked, the more the options for schooling continued to unfold. We learned that the Dutch public schools, while all requiring students to take the national standards test, all have adopted different approaches in their methodology for educating their young charges. Some of the options include International Baccalaureate, Montessori, Jenaplan, Freeschool, Dalton, and then various religious institutions like Catholic and Protestant schools. To add to this rich mix, most of these schools also offer an 'Early Bird' plan for students who are learning Dutch so that part of the instruction - largely the reading and writing classes - are taught bilingually to accommodate both languages and encourage development of spoken and written abilities as well as reading comprehension and writing structure. Damn. These are PUBLIC schools, where the Netherlands' education system ranks in the top ten each year for reading and is currently ranked 11th in the world in math and science education. Now why can't the US get this right?
An educator nomad traveling and teaching her way around the world. Fun stuff.