School Choice Is More Than You Might Think


(Andrew R. Campanella) - For parents across the country who have been enlightened or frustrated by education during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new and exciting innovation is emerging, creating new opportunities for families. It's a 21st century way of approaching learning, with flexible options popping up in local communities across the country. Though each is unique, these new options broadly fall under the category of microschooling and learning pods.

Perhaps someone you knew joined a pod in the absence of in-person schooling during the height of the pandemic. Maybe your sister-in-law has been raving about the public charter microschool she found for her son. By challenging the conventional wisdom of how schooling must be done, microschooling and learning pods refocus the education conversation around everyone's shared goal: the educational success and happiness of students.

If you want to find out more about these new learning options, or the traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, or at home education options available to your family, you're in luck this month. National School Choice Week will take place January 22-28, 2023, organized by the National School Choice Awareness Foundation to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options for children.

As a parent in 2023, you're bound to have questions about the K-12 system, which has changed rapidly in our lifetimes. If you're not familiar with all your school choices, or what to ask when comparing them, you're not the only one. Today, more than ever, families are interested in school choice, and states are creating policies that increase the opportunities for families to choose a school. For the majority of parents in this country, the real question isn't whether you have school choice, but how you'll use it.

If your child is not happy at school or having challenges that are going unaddressed, it may be time to evaluate your options. As a parent, you know better than anyone what your child needs. But you may not yet know all the school options available to you.

Evaluating your options in January gives you plenty of time to consider new schools (or a learning pod). Occasionally, I talk to folks who ask me whether parents are open to making new school choices after the education disruptions virtually every family experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. My answer is an emphatic "yes!" Parents are more informed than ever and more invested in making sure their kids' educational needs are met. This month, millions of them will celebrate a great school they've chosen or make the decision to select a new option. We can all see the value in that.

Andrew Campanella is president and CEO of National School Choice Awareness Foundation and the author of The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child.