Today, I attended the open house of a new public charter school in my local area. During the tour, I over heard a conversation between a parent and teacher. This parent had a large basket of supplies for their student that they wished to leave at the school as classes were scheduled to start the following Monday. During the exchange, it was revealed that this family was participating in a carpool of citizens that were commuting from a neighboring community. Their community does not have any “brick and mortar” public charter schools. Due to tight funding for this particular public school option, they will not be able to provide busing. These parents will be traveling approximately 1-1/2 hours, TWICE a day, for their children to attend this public school. As I am closely associated with most public charter schools in my area, I know that this group of parents is not unique. Many citizens from this community are choosing to attend neighboring public charter schools, virtual schools or homeschool their children in very large numbers. As a school choice advocate, it amazes me as to the dedication that these parents must have to their children’s education. I’ve read enough educational research to know that if children were thriving in their local traditional schools, these parents would determine to attend those schools and avoid the inconvenience of enrolling in schools outside their local areas.
At the same time, it saddens me to think of the students who may be struggling in that community, who’s parents, due to the lack of resources (time, money, ability), can’t make likewise sacrifices for their education.
I wonder when additional communities will decide to adequately service ALL the children’s needs and allow “brick and mortar” public school options to open in their areas. When will governing persons realize that all children deserve and need the opportunity to flourish in an educational setting that best fits the needs of the children they are suppose to be serving? How long will parents have to wait for more options to education?
In closing, I want to express my profound gratitude to individuals who sacrifice their time, talents, resources and often their professional stature to provide students more educational options. They are truly reshaping the fabric of our communities and nation as they adequately service children, as that is the actually duty to education.
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