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OPINION

Parent urges more education options

Aley Minton

This week is National School Choice Week, and for families like mine, it’s an important one.

Every child is unique, and every family’s circumstances are different. So when it comes to educating our kids options couldn’t be more important.

For some children, the traditional public school model works great. For others, specialized classes and approaches in the classroom can make all the difference. Some families struggle with serious and long-term health problems. Many children simply cannot learn in their neighborhood school because of bullying.

And, unfortunately, far too often adult problems slam the breaks on our kids’ learning.

Whether it’s teacher sickouts and work stoppages shutting schoolhouse doors without a moment’s warning, poor financial management of local districts leading to dirty or dangerous conditions inside school buildings, constantly changing high-stakes, high-risk testing, or a cookie cutter approach that has a hard time adjusting to the unique needs of unique kids, it’s enough to make parents’ feel helpless.

The good news in Michigan is that families have choices, and they’re often a godsend. I can speak to that from experience.

Our family has been fortunate enough to have the choice and the opportunity to enroll our son in one of Michigan’s great cyber charter public schools that specializes in the sort of learning styles under which our kids can thrive, and like so many other Michigan children, our son has.

Nearly 140,000 Michigan students attend one of the state’s 300 charter public schools, including hundreds who attend a cyber school, and they’re getting a remarkable education.

Many more students are taking advantage of options that allow them to attend traditional public schools located in other districts, or making the choice to take classes online.

Every student is different, with unique circumstances, challenges and opportunities. And while every child learns differently, one thing education policymakers can always trust is that parents have their children’s best interests at heart.

Michigan lawmakers’ commitment to empowering parents with education choices are making a real difference in real lives.

As parents celebrate the difference public school options have made for our kids during National School Choice Week, we hope Lansing will remember what education policy is all about.

Equipping parents with public school options keeps the focus where it belongs, and our children’s future is a lot brighter because of them.

A resident of Port Huron Township, Aley Minton is a member of the board for the Michigan Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org.