School choice is something that can help students, families, communities, and the education system as a whole. Competition in any system can lead to innovation, and new educational ideas can come from all K-12 avenues, whether this is a charter school, public school, or a home school. Here are seven reasons having a choice in your child's education is an important right as well as a benefit for everyone in the system.
1. Tailor-Made Education for Students
Not all children are the same, and lumping everyone into the same learning path at a public school might not be optimal for some unique learners. Students with minor learning disabilities might need specialized learning tools or more one-on-one time than they would receive at a public school. As an alternative to public schools, charter schools can help those who excel in specialized topics and hone in on subject expertise that might not even be an option at a public school.
2. Strengthening Communities
Having families and parents that are actively involved in the education system and community around them can strengthen learning environments across the board. Having a choice when it comes to education can help bring complex issues to the table and all learning environments can work together for solutions. Within the charter school community, ties can be strengthened and bolstered with a smaller, more dedicated parental base. Parents can feel empowered with choices they make to create the right changes down the line for their children as well as future scholars.
3. Families can Make Choices that Work for Them
While there are programs that are designed to serve what is best for the public, sometimes schooling and educational choices are best served if families can be a part of this process. While there are benefits to the public school system, by taking away the right for families to weigh their options on their own, it can be hard to gauge what is working and what is not. Educational vouchers put the choice for education back into the hands of parents, so that the funding that would go to public schools can be turned into a voucher and redirected to charter schools instead. This can be a powerful way for families to have the resources they need to make the right choices for their families and children. Having only one option because of finances or not enough resources in the community can be too limiting for all.
4. Changes in Educational Needs and Situations
No two children are the same, and the same can go for families and communities as well. There are always personal changes that can come up for students and their loved ones that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to the best educational environment for one to flourish in. There might be students that would be best served in a home-schooled, online environment. Others might benefit from a more tailored curriculum in a smaller setting. And there are other children that can be best served in a larger, more mainstream school system. The important factor to keep in mind is that families should be given the option to weigh their personal needs and make the best informed decisions when it comes to their child's educational goals.
5. Overall Innovation Bolsters all Educational Avenues
When it comes to curriculum for K-12 schools, there are traditional subjects that will always be the backbone of education, but there are also ongoing changes in the world that need to be factored into learning. Computer-based learning, teamwork, and online subjects are all proven educational components that have started in smaller educational environments such as private and charter schools, and then became mainstream after these are proven to be successful learning tools and environments for students. When it comes to education, innovations can come from any type of learning environment, but by having a diverse group of educators can lead to more improvement overall.
6. School Safety Concerns for Kids
Getting a good education shouldn't include children coming to school in fear, possibly facing bullying or worse. With lowered funding and overcrowding in public schools, safety measures can suffer because there just isn't enough manpower or supervision to keep kids on the right path. Staff may not notice small issues before they turn into big problems. Charter schools are smaller, and can keep safety a priority for kids. Working to foster an environment for learning and creating that doesn't have negative distractions that so many public schools and students face today needs to be a priority.
7. Empowering Parents and Educators
While there can be a benefit to the overall structured environment of public schools, this can also stifle creativity and change process when it comes to upper level decision-making in curriculum, leadership, and learning innovations. If educators and parents feels as if their opinions and ideas are valued, change can take place more easily and more ideas will be brought to the table. By giving parents and educators more of a voice, they will asssist in the overall process of change in schools and the educational system as a whole.
While public school might be a great option for many children, having the choice to make the right decisions for your children can make all of the difference. Not all families or children are the same, and a one-size-fits-all educational environment won't be a catch-all for all learners. If you are looking into the right learning environment for your K-12 student in California, there are public school, charter school, and independent learning environments that you can explore to make sure your child can flourish and get the education they need to succeed.