In my role as president of National School Choice Week, I’ve had the opportunity to visit some incredible public charter schools.
These schools have inspired me, and I have found that the different instructional methods, themes, and structures of these schools — all very different and unique in their own way — demonstrate the importance of diversity in education.
For example, one school I visited was designed to help refugee children from Myanmar acclimate to their new lives in the United States; this school taught these students not only how to read and write English, but how to use utensils to eat their food. Another school was set up to provide specific services specifically for children with special learning needs. Describing these visits in full would take pages.
But there are a few things that people don’t know about public charter schools. First, they’re entirely public schools, held to the same standards as traditional public schools. Second, they’re free to attend and must accept every student, as long as there is room. Third, many charter schools were started by teachers from traditional public schools who want to “scale up” a successful instructional model or method. Fourth, every charter school operates on a contract with a district, a state, a university, a mayor’s office, or a nonprofit, and any charter schools can be closed for not meeting the expectations set out in these contracts.
More than half of America’s 6,000 public charter schools are holding events, meetings, or activities during National School Choice Week 2017. I hope that more Americans can, through these events, see how public charter schools are providing a new type of variety to education in America, and how children and parents are reaping the benefits.
This is the fifth in a series of seven essays about the different types of #SchoolChoice options that are celebrated during National School Choice Week. To read the introduction to the series, click here.