The news is once again buzzing over school choice. But do you know about all of the different types of school choice?
The Alabama Federation for Children recently released a study performed by McLaughlin and Associates claiming that 65% of Alabamians favor the concept of school choice.
In the survey, school choice is defined as giving “parents the right to use the tax dollars associated with their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which better serves their needs.”
School choice encompasses a whole lot more than just “public or private school”.
While Alabama admittedly doesn’t have a whole lot of choice where public schools are concerned, you might be surprised to see just how much choice already exists.
Types of School Choice
The table below is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to provide an opportunity to get familiar with the various types of school choice contained within the spectrum of “public” and “private” schools.
While you may have been familiar with a number of these types of school choice, it is likely that open enrollment is one you haven’t heard much about here in Alabama. Open enrollment can be intradistrict (allowing for any student to attend any school within the student’s district) or interdistrict (allowing for students to freely enroll in any school district).
You may recall that during the melee that ensued after the Alabama Accountability Act was passed in 2013, the Alabama legislature quickly passed a second law making it clear that no school district would be forced to take any students from outside its geographic borders.
But with charter schools and scholarship program expansion set to be discussed in the upcoming legislative session, it might be time to consider what types of opportunities open enrollment might open up for families.
Twenty-two states have mandatory open enrollment policies to provide for interdistrict transfers, including Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kentucky.
That’s all for now. As the discussion about school choice continues, make sure you know at least the basic differences between the types of school choice to better engage in the discussion.
Open Enrollment Policies by State, June 2013 . Education Commission of the States
Open Enrollment Map of All States, June 2013. – 22 states have mandatory interdistrict enrollment policies. Education Commission of the States
More Than 6,000 Charter Schools Now Operate in the United States, November 3, 2014. The Hechinger Report
Innovation in Public School Choice – an organization that specializes in assisting districts and states implement school choice of various types