If the Shoe Fits…


May 28, 2014 2:12PM

Runners know that there’s no “one size fits all” prescription for performing at your best. Searching for just the right running shoe is as exhausting as the marathon itself. Your training partner may thrive in a stability shoe, but you may be a toe-runner or have a neutral gait—either of which requires different footwear. Perhaps you pronate, or have narrow arches, or respond best in a minimalist shoe. The choices are endless, and we all know the consequences of making a decision that’s not right for our bodies. Fellow runners out there, can I get an “AMEN”? The same can be said for our educations. Research shows our natural dispositions for learning matched with the appropriate instruction is as fundamentally essential to our development as proper equipment is to elite athletic performance. So why is something so vitally important generally treated with a blasé roll of the eyes by establishment education proponents bent against school choice? Training runs in suitable gear prepare us to compete on the same stage as runners with access to personal trainers and top-quality apparel. Likewise, K-12 education and college academics prepare students for the competitive professional job market. So why are we trying to put every child into the same pair of outdated Keds tennis shoes—limiting their ability to pursue virtual learning, private schooling, or specialized tutoring—and expect that they can compete nationally and globally against children who’ve had access to higher quality educations? Tennessee’s legislature failed to pass Governor Haslam’s opportunity scholarship proposal in the 2014 session, which ended hopes of school choice for Tennessee children this year. Meanwhile, only 17 percent of last year’s 12th-grade students in Tennessee reached the proficient level in math and just 31 percent in reading. These alarming facts reflect a system that’s producing negative results. Like they say, “if the shoe fits, wear it.” But if the shoe doesn’t fit? Find new shoes or suffer with blisters. -Lindsay Boyd   Enjoy the Beacon blog? Help us keep it going with a tax-deductible gift.