Over the past few decades, primary and secondary education have been rethought, reshaped, and rebranded. Amidst the changes in the K-12 world, there have been stigmas attached to different styles of education just as there are in the post-secondary world. Although the options in post-secondary education outnumber those in primary and secondary education, stigmas persist about what choices are better than others. A four-year university option is perceived as more prestigious than a community college option due to nomenclature. Expanding the options and reducing the stigma of alternative styles of higher education would not only ensure success in higher education for all students, but also equip more individuals with the tools for success. Just as school choice is important for K-12 education, changing the stigma of choices in post-secondary education needs to be on the top of our list.
Post-secondary education has shown the education world how important it is to give students options. Expanding options equips more individuals with the tools for success. The Brookings Institution hosted several panels on the importance of choice in post-secondary education and the need to enhance the experience for students. The panelists’ ideas, although specific to post-secondary education, parallel the need for choice in primary and secondary education. Providing more education options can only improve both sectors of education. Just as some post-secondary students excel in a traditional, four-year college experience and others excel in a certification program at a community college, some K-12 students can excel in a traditional public school and others excel in an alternative charter school setting. The acceptance of alternative modes of K-12 education should ideally be transferred to the post-secondary realm, while the abundance of options in the post-secondary realm should be paralleled in the K-12 sector.
As DeRionne Pollard, the president of Montgomery College noted,