When I was teaching in Maryland public schools at the start of my career, there was a lot of talk about vouchers. Parents were looking for ways to fund a choice of schools, especially parents who lived in failing school districts. At the time, I worked at a school that was considered a failing school. Because I was honestly afraid that vouchers would have a negative impact on our school, I was hesitant to advocate for them.
During the past 20 years, I have learned many things, but one key thing that I have learned is that in education, one size does not fit all. Having viable options available is critical to reaching every child.
This week is School Choice Week, a national celebration of educational options that highlights effective schools for every child. I am thankful that we have the opportunity to celebrate the fact that, in the United States, we do have choices when it comes to educating our children, and I believe that we need to look for ways to make those choices more available to our families.
It saddens me when families come to me knowing that their children would benefit from what our small school offers, but they can’t afford the tuition. It saddens me when politicians make decisions that limit rather than enhance choice and try to force all children into the mold offered by public schools. School choice is a privilege that we should never take for granted. As a parent of a child who has benefited from options, and as an administrator of a school that benefits children who need options, I am hopeful that this week will help people to see that choice is necessary and choice is good when it comes to educating our nation’s children.