Giving parents their say means choice in education

By November 4, 2021 News

Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, has an excellent op-Ed out this week. Her commentary, published in USA Today, notes how important it is to listen to parents’ voices in education. Rees writes:

“Schools are often regarded as the center of our society, and never has that been more true than now. Issues of health, safety, social justice, economics and infrastructure intersect at the schoolhouse door. With so many different perspectives, who should we listen to? I say we should listen to parents.”

Listen to parents by giving them choices

Providing parents with choice in education is a key way to listen and engage. Given the choice, many parents are choosing public charter schools for their children. Reasons vary, but the evidence shows that charter schools excel at the main thing: providing children with an excellent education.

For instance, Rees cites a 2020 study from Danish Shakeel and Paul Peterson of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance. The study tracked long-term performance trends of district and charter schools between 2005 and 2017. The authors write about their findings:

“The average gains by 4th- and 8th-grade charter students are approximately twice as large as those by students in district schools, a difference of a half-year’s worth of learning.”

African American students and low-income students were among those making the “steepest gains” at charter schools, the study found. Read more about the study in Education Next.