Good Reads for National School Choice Week

Good morning, and welcome to National School Choice Week.

National School Choice Week has been organized each January since 2011 by a diverse coalition of organizations and, thousands of events are held across the nation “to highlight a variety of school choice options — from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.”

Here at Education Next we’d like to highlight a few of the pieces we’ve published over the past year that illuminate some elements of the world of school choice that don’t always get the most attention.

Choices for parents who think their kids might benefit from a special program at a school in a nearby school district: In California, some school districts where enrollment was dropping are taking advantage of the state’s District of Choice law, which allows districts to compete for students by offering innovative programs and options that parents want. June Kronholz visits some of these districts in “California’s Districts of Choice.”

Choices for families who don’t want to have to take sides in the charter wars: Some school districts have tried to see charter school operators as potential partners rather than competitors. In “Inside Successful District-Charter Compacts,” Richard Whitmire looks at a few places where charter schools and traditional district schools are working together.

Choices for parents who want a more personalized experience for their kids than most schools can offer: Some families are choosing blended learning programs offered by school districts so that their kids can learn at their own pace or take courses not offered at their home schools. In “What Does Online Learning Look Like?,” Mandy Zatynski visits online learning programs offered by districts in Florida and Pennsylvania.

Choices for struggling students who need to recover credits for courses they’ve failed. Students who are not on track to graduate from high school used to have to repeat a grade or go to summer school. Today, those students can often choose from a variety of online credit-recovery options. In “Credit Recovery Hits the Mainstream,” Sarah Carr looks at whether those options are any good.

– Education Next

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