School choice

To the Editor:

As Maine prepares to commemorate school choice later this month at 20 events across the state, and nearly 11,000 events nationwide, many parents will begin evaluating the educational opportunities that are available for their children.

Interest in school choice – the process of actively choosing a public, charter, magnet, private or online school – is high. That means that waiting until the spring or the summer to begin researching schools for your children could restrict your options.

No handbook or tip sheet can truly guide parents through the entire process of selecting a school because choosing schools is an individual experience that will be unique to every family.

However, parents can start by making a list of the attributes that they hope to find in an ideal school. Ask yourself: what’s most important to you and to the academic, social and emotional well-being of your child? Is it the academic performance of a school, school safety, the instructional methods, the qualifications of teachers, the school’s educational theme, a school’s shared values or other factors?

Once you’ve identified what matters most, start looking into the options.

In addition to the local public schools, look into nearby charter schools and magnet schools. Don’t leave private and faith-based schools off your list! For some families, online learning and homeschooling work best.

Look at information from the Maine Department of Education, as well as information on state-based education reform or school choice organization websites.

Andrew R. Campanella

President, National School Choice Week.

Miramar Beach, Florida

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