Lest you think this is all about charters, private schools or home-schooling, please remember that charter schools in Ohio are public schools and that choosing to send a child to a traditional public school is still a choice that many parents make.
There's nothing wrong with any of the choice options available to parents these days and since it's supposed to be "for the children," what would make more sense than to allow each child to have the education that best suits them?
That's what school choice is all about: finding the best fit for a child, regardless of what that fit might be.
Maybe some day we can let actually let the public dollars spent on a child for their education follow the child.
Imagine if K-12 school funding worked more like public funding of higher education - where a grant amount was determined based on a family's financial information and then the children could use that designated amount at any college or university that accepted them.
Under such a scenario, elementary and high schools would compete for students, offering a variety of tracks mirroring the interest of the kids while still ensuring that state minimum requirements were achieved.
Arizona did something like this with their Education Empowerment Scholarship Accounts and it's working well enough that other states could easily learn from them how to duplicate their success.
The state deposits educational funds directly into an account controlled by the parent. The parents can choose how to spend the funds using a type of debit card that is coded to allow its usage only for pre-approved expenses.
Parents can use it for tuition at any school, to pay for college or university courses while their child is still in high school, for online education, certified tutors, testing preparation like for SATs, or even a la carte public school courses (foreign languages, for example). They also have the choice to not spend it and put it toward a future college education. Anything not used in a year is allowed to accumulate.
Think about how food stamp EBT cards work and you'll have a good understanding about how the Arizona system works, except it's education items that are being purchased rather than food.This is just one example of the many innovative ways parents, politicians and policy-makers are looking at providing a variety of educational opportunities for children today.
So celebrate your school choice options and special congrats to our state of Ohio which leads the nation in education scholarship options!