The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia.
Terrance Anfield is an elementary school teacher. He has held numerous elementary and pre-K positions in Atlanta region schools. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bethune-Cookman University. He is a member and fellow of the Association of American Educators.
Everyone has preferences regarding the decisions that concern themselves and the people in their lives. And of course, most parents would sacrifice a great deal to support their children and to find the school that best suited their educational needs, especially if given the chance to choose.
Years of studies show that educational standards and test scores improve in districts that have broader school options. As with any industry, schools have shown to become more innovative and responsive when competition increases and students have a choice in where they want to go to school and what type of school best suits their learning needs. Fortunately, in more and more areas, school selection is no longer tied to a zip code. The choices are becoming broader, to include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, career training schools, home schooling, online schools, and diverse independent, and religious schools. Choosing a school is just the beginning of parental engagement. Access to school choice has also shown to increase parent engagement throughout a child’s academic career.
Why isn’t school choice available to every student? With more choice comes the need for more information and for more understanding. I feel sometimes we may fear what we do not understand. Even though school choice is not a new idea (I attended a school through school choice) there is still much to do to understand options, to share information, and to advocate for choice for all students.
As for me, I graduated from a school I chose to attend, I now teach in a charter school, and my children are in schools we chose together that best suit their educational needs. I’m looking forward to celebrating National School Choice Week January 26 through February 1, 2020, and I hope you will join me. However, my family celebrates school choice every day of the year. Every family should too!