By Leslie Crawford, Senior Editor
"When I was growing up, we just went to our neighborhood school." If I drank a Starbucks for every time I have heard this lament – inevitably issued from a parent who is at wit's end over where to get her child the best possible education – I'd be the most hyperactive woman in the nation.
Well, back when I was in elementary school – after the Pleistocene era and well before the Internet – my brother, sister, and I did just that: walked the four blocks to Teller Elementary School, our locally assigned school in Denver. My mother didn't stay up late trolling GreatSchools, touring scores of schools, and hitting up other parents about what they think about this and that school and the secret to getting into those schools. She filled out a form in the spring and, come September, sent us on our way.
Education nation 2013: goodbye simplicity, hello choice!
That was then, this is now. Yes, while we might mourn the loss of simplicity back in the old days of your neighborhood=your school public education, we've gained in… choice. Today, in many school districts across the country, parents have a choice about where their children will be educated. School choice is a complicated and politically charged term – there’s still a lot of controversy about who wants it and why, who it helps and who it hurts – but for millions of American parents who want a say about where their children will attend school, it is also life-changing.
'Tis the season... to consider your school options
Now school choice even has its own special season. This year National School Choice Week begins this Sunday, January 27 and runs through Saturday, February 2. To make your school search less stressful, watch a few of our snappily short and entertaining new videos (like the one below) that reveal insider secrets about how to tour an elementary, middle, and high school. (Shhhh…don't always follow your tour leader!) Then dive deep with a crash course on school choice terminology and learn about all the different kinds of schools you can consider for your child.
Curious to find out about some of the most common alternatives to traditional public schools? Start by watching our terrific video on charter schools. Move onto private schools, special education, and language-based schools. And if, like me, you've stayed up until 2:00 hungry to read more about every type of schools (from Montessori to Waldorf and virtual to STEM), go here for everything under the school choice sun.
In the meantime, let us know how your school search goes. And here's to getting the school of your choice!Follow @LeslieMCrawford