An educator’s opinion on why school choice matters

I feel school choice plays a huge role in a student’s academic outcome and effort.

From personal experience, I very much disliked the school I attended. I also wanted to graduate early. At the time my school would not support me taking on extra academics to meet that goal. They also offered very few elective opportunities. Eventually, I was able to attend an “alternative” school.

This move changed so much for me, as at my new school I was more engaged in my school work. I even attended school from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., allowing me to graduate a year early. Through this school I was able to become a certified medical transcriptionist. Other options that were available were CNR training and a welding license.

Today as an educator and a parent, I see how much school choice matters. Some of my children did not do very well in traditional district schools. I found a charter school that seemed as though it would meet their needs. I enrolled them and they have shined! They want to go to school, they have fun, and the school is very much in tune with how they respond to the world around them. I’m very thankful for being able to have this choice in schools.

I personally teach at a different charter school. It has a completely different mission and methods regarding how students should be taught. I would not say that my school is better than other schools. However, it is different, which offers variety to meet student needs, personalities, goals, etc. I truly believe that having options is in the best interest of students.

Along with school choice, having choice and voice at the school your child attends is equally important. Schools are a community and every teacher, student, and parent should be able to have their voice heard and respected. Serious efforts should be made to fix or find solutions to these problems and concerns. Even if that means recommending that a student go to another school.

I believe it is our duty and responsibility as educators to help advocate for what is best for the students. I appreciate having school pride and responsibility toward your school. However, if a child would benefit from another school, their teaching methods, options, etc., we should be advocating for them. Even in our own school, if there is an area in which our school is not meeting the needs of a student, we need to speak out about it. We need to do our best to find a solution and be able to meet that need the best way possible.

There are so many options out there for students and families to consider when seeking and choosing a school. Homeschooling, public charter schools, traditional schools, neighborhood schools, magnet schools, special education schools, religious schools, advanced placement schools, and virtual schools. I know that I am very grateful for being able to choose a school that best fits my children’s needs and wants. Seeing such a positive change from a school switch was very special. I will always advocate for school choice.

Amber Purvis grew up in Idaho and continues to reside there. She is in her first year of teaching after graduation with a bachelors in elementary education from Boise State University. Employed as a fifth grade teacher at Village Leadership Academy, she is learning a lot which is enhancing her teaching philosophy. 

 

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