Time to focus on school choice across America | Guest column

  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 2:41pm
  • Opinion
Andrew R. Campanella. COURTESY PHOTO

Andrew R. Campanella. COURTESY PHOTO

By Andrew R. Campanella/National School Choice Week

Later this month, schools, home-school groups, organizations, and individuals in Washington and across America will work together to raise awareness about the importance of opportunity in K-12 education.

National School Choice Week begins on Jan. 21 and celebrates all types of schools and education environments for children.

Nationwide, 32,240 different events and activities – such as open houses, school fairs, and information sessions – are being planned, with an estimated attendance of 6.7 million people. In fact, 448 of those events and activities will be held in Washington, and four are in Kent.

National School Choice Week has been celebrated every year since 2011. And even with increased awareness, many families still have questions about school choice and how it can benefit them and their communities.

The first thing to know is that school choice isn’t partisan or political. It isn’t about a specific set of policy goals either. Rather, it’s about parents making personal decisions for their children.

School choice means empowering individual parents with the opportunity to search for, and find, the best education environments for their individual children – regardless of where they live or how much money they make.

Finding the right school is important, because every child has unique talents, challenges and needs. School choice isn’t about finding fault with any of the schooling options available. Instead, it recognizes that while one student might thrive at a neighborhood school, another student might do better somewhere else.

Research shows that when parents actively choose schools and education environments for their children, students are more likely to succeed in school. They are also more likely to graduate from high school, get good jobs, and participate in their communities.

School choice isn’t just theoretical. Right now, more parents in Washington and across America are actively choosing the education environments for their children than at any other time in history.

National School Choice Week provides parents with an opportunity to evaluate the education options available for their children. If parents are interested in switching their child to a different school, or considering homeschooling, it helps to start looking into these options in the winter.

Families in Washington can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies and homeschooling. In terms of public school choice options, Washington has one of the nation’s broadest “open enrollment” policies in the country; students are permitted to attend virtually any public the state, regardless of where they live.

Searching for a new school, or considering an alternative education environment, doesn’t have to be daunting. Parents can start by talking to their children and other parents, researching schools online, and visiting schools in person. A good place to start is the National School Choice Week website: schoolchoiceweek.com, where we provide more information about specific school choice options in the Evergreen State as well as listings of the tens of thousands of local and regional events happening this year.

National School Choice Week is a time when the country comes together around the idea that every child can succeed when they find the right school fit. This January, parents have more options and opportunities than ever before to find that right fit. For individual communities and for our country, that is a good thing.

A nationally recognized advocate for children and families, Andrew R. Campanella serves as president of National School Choice Week, the world’s largest-annual celebration of opportunity in education. He lives in Northwest Florida.

More in Opinion

A look at the races for the state’s 9 top jobs

Nine of the most powerful political jobs in Washington state will be… Continue reading

Amateurism must be maintained to preserve education-based sports

While we addressed a number of important issues with our member state… Continue reading

High costs drive people to move

Too often, elected officials overlook the cumulative costs of regulations, taxes and… Continue reading

This political break-up couldn’t come at a worse time

As backers of I-1000 gear up, a legal spat involving others is casting a shadow on their efforts.

High school football is thriving, not dying

By Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS executive director When the annual High School… Continue reading

Sen. Mona Das. COURESY PHOTO
After a senator’s claim is debunked, a call for an apology

The GOP wants a Democratic senator held to account for accusations which an investigation found to be false

Mitsubishi launching into regional jet space

Traditionally, media coverage of the Paris Air Show focuses on the battle… Continue reading

Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone

King County Library System is committed to inclusion – the idea that… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Inslee passes up a chance to confront corporate ‘blackmail’

Governor skipped a meeting about tax breaks, he said, Boeing squeezed out of the state.

Parents and adult fans: biggest challenge facing high school sports today

By Karissa Niehoff and Mick Hoffman, for the Reporter Inappropriate adult behavior… Continue reading

Habitat work shows promise of salmon recovery

Treaty tribes are encouraged by fish passage improvement projects in the Puget… Continue reading

Labor Day epilogue: partnering for Success

A few years ago on Labor Day, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee… Continue reading