CLARK: School Choice Provides Opportunity for PA Kids
I believe in school choice for Pennsylvania because I am a product of school choice. I attended private and public schools through the 70s and 80s. Also, I appreciate the high-quality education my children and grandchildren have received at public brick-and-mortar charter schools, cyber public charter schools, traditional public schools, and private schools.
It has been amazing to choose for each of my children and grandchildren which schools met their unique needs. I am proud to say that my adult children all contribute positively to our society from the skills and knowledge they acquired at Pennsylvania Schools.
They have cultivated the entrepreneurial spirit into their work lives directly from education choices. My oldest granddaughter has been accepted to six universities here in Pennsylvania due to her public charter school and private school education. Also, arduous work on her part. She credited her success to the charter school, giving her a sense of community, and her private school gave her coursework that excelled her learning. Would these outcomes be the same if my zip code had dictated the schools?
The ongoing debate around funding school choice in Pennsylvania has damaged our national and local reputation as a state that doesn’t value education.
It has hurt how teachers feel about teaching. It has impaired young people’s desire to become teachers. It repels teachers from moving to or staying in our educational system. Over the course of the last 10 years, teachers applying for certification went from over 15,000 to teachers to less than 6,000 in 2021.
It has caused division in our communities when the authorizing district approves and funds the charter school. It is not in their interest to support or allow charter schools to expand. The authorizers impose enrollment caps that limit the number of students who can enroll in charter schools. It also blocks students’ enrollment in public charter schools. It is hard to believe that there is even a debate when all the funds come ultimately from taxpayers like you and me.
It is time to put all differences aside. It is time to see ourselves as a state that values high-quality education for all children and adults from kindergarten through post-high school studies, regardless of where they attend school.
We must declare that we value our students, parents, teachers, and leaders. We must train and empower our school boards to make appropriate decisions on the future of our schools and always maintain in sight that the parents, grandparents, and communities are paying for our schools.
Everyone’s voice is needed, matters, and will allow all schools to create opportunity, innovation, and unity for all children of Pennsylvania. Finally, we must recognize the positive effects school choice has on all schools and our economy.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools will continue to be the catalyst for educational excellence through opportunity, innovation, and unity. Also, please join us with millions of school choice supporters across the Nation during National School Choice Week by sharing your story on social media.
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