School choice means giving parents access to the best K-12 education options for their children. These options not only include traditional public schools, public charter schools, and public magnet schools, but also private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.
Every child deserves an effective, challenging, as well as motivating education. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, therefore children should have the opportunity to achieve their own American dreams.
Research shows, empowered parents who choose the educational environment they believe work best for their kids are more likely to see their children succeed and furthermore, graduate from high school.
Every child is unique, and students thrive when they’re matched with learning environments that meet their individual needs.
School choice is important because every child deserves an effective, challenging, and motivating education that inspires them to be successful and achieve their dreams.
But, children learn in different ways, and have different talents, skills, and challenges.
What might be a good school for one student might not be a good fit for another child.
School choice allows parents to identify the best learning environments for their individual children.
Across the country:
46 states offer some type of open enrollment policies for traditional public schools, allowing parents to choose schools outside of their “zones”
44 states allow the creation of public charter schools. There are currently 6,700 charter schools in the U.S. serving more than 3 million children
All 50 states allow for the creation of magnet schools, which are theme-based public schools focusing on subjects such as math, science, technology, or arts. More than 4,300 magnet schools serve 3.5 million children across the country
All 50 states have private school options for families. In 30 states, parents can access state-sponsored private school scholarship or tax deduction programs. Combined, these programs benefit more than 1 million children
33 states offer full-time, public online academies and 27 states offer online public schooling to all students in the state – public and nonpublic
All 50 states provide parents with the freedom to homeschool their children. Nearly 2 million students are educated in the home
The goal of National School Choice Week is to raise awareness about the K-12 education options available to families in communities across the country.
During the Week, participants also shine a spotlight on the benefits of opportunity in education and providing parents with access to a variety of education environments for their children.
Available sources of K-12 education are:
Traditional Public Schools: Traditional public schools are operated by school districts, free to attend, open to all students, and funded by taxpayers. Some states allow parents to send their children to any public school, regardless of where it is located. This is called “Open Enrollment.” Open enrollment is available in some Louisiana districts.
Charter Schools: Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are allowed the freedom to innovate while being held accountable for student achievement. Sometimes charter schools are run by school districts. Other times they are run by nonprofits, organizations, colleges and universities, or even state and local governments. Parents can choose from many charter schools around the state.
Magnet Schools: Public magnet schools are public schools, free to attend, and funded by taxpayers. Public magnet schools are permitted in all 50 states and focus on specific themes, such as math, science, technology, or the performing arts.
Private Schools: Private schools are nonpublic schools that charge tuition. Some private schools are faith-based, and others are non-sectarian. Effective in 2018, the federal government now allows parents to save for K-12 private school tuition using tax-preferred 529 savings accounts. Some states also offer state-authorized scholarship programs or education savings accounts to assist parents with tuition, in addition to privately-available scholarships or tuition assistance. Louisiana families can deduct nonpublic educational expenses from their taxes. In addition, they can qualify for state-run scholarships if they fall below a certain income level. Privately funded scholarships may also be available.
Online Learning: There are two types of online learning: online academies and course access. Virtual academies instruct students through online or digital classes. Most of these schools are public, free to attend, and funded by taxpayers. Course access allows parents to combine public online learning with homeschooling or private education. Louisiana students in grades K-12 can attend Louisiana Virtual Charter School full-time. Other options may also be available.
Home Education: Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home. Homeschooling is permitted in all 50 states, and many homeschool families choose to participate in curriculum sharing groups, online learning activities, or cooperatives to enhance their home education.
The School Choice Week is held every January with the goal of empowering parents to choose schools for their children during the best time of year to start the process of selecting a school.