Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Choice encourages parental involvement

Children benefit from parental involvement greatly. Parents can have a huge impact on how successful their child is. This is not to say that parents who work full-time and have little time to study with their children will create less successful parents. When looking at school choice programs, it takes a little involvement to make it work. The parents must chose to get their child placed in a better school. In an article School Choice Gains Steam in The Post and Courier, Charleston, it is says:

School choice encourages parental involvement, a crucial asset for the long-term mission of improving our state's education system. Parents of 289 students have proven that point anew by choosing to file applications for admission to the new Charleston Charter School for Math & Science. Though space limitations required school officials to admit only 180 of those students, the clear public yearning for more and better educational options re-confirms that school choice is an idea whose time has come.

Thirty of the nearly 300 parents who applied for their children's admission even got involved by showing up at the Charleston County Library's main branch last week for the lottery drawing that determined which students could attend the Math & Science charter school on the campus of the former Rivers Middle School downtown. The school will open in August for sixth- through ninth-graders, with additional grades through the 12th added annually.

While parents whose children weren't lucky enough to have their numbers drawn for admission were understandably disappointed, the lottery process assured a fair and equal chance for all applicants to the school, which has no entrance test. And the strong public demand for spots in the school assures strong parental involvement.

One of those disappointed parents, Louis Lawrence, told our reporter that he wants his son, who's entering the sixth grade in August, to have the best education possible. That's an admirable sentiment that can be fostered throughout our community and state by expanding school choice. As Mr. Lawrence put it: "We want change. We want something different. We want opportunity."...

And one of the most critical benefits of charter schools is invigorating parental involvement in education.

While not every parent wins the lottery here, at least some children are given that opportunity to a better education. It will also encourage the movement to grow as more parents will want to have their children in those schools. The other schools will decide it is time to improve if they want to keep their students. It is a win-win situation. Would you want your child attending a failing or non-excelling school if you had the choice?

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