Kicking off National School Choice Week: Darlene Chambers weighs in

As the Executive Director of OCCS, I have the privilege of hearing year-round about the difference school choice is making in the lives of students and families. But it’s exciting to take one week out of the year to celebrate with our choice community – not just OCCS-sponsored schools or Ohio’s charter community, but nationally.

Among OCCS’ 40 schools serving 27,000 students, there are so many different types of students being served by quality charter school options. At the outset of school choice week, several of them come to mind:

  • Students of all ages who are being better served by their current school, whether this means academically, emotionally/socially, or otherwise. Every parent wants a quality option for their child, and an environment that feels safe and tailored to their child’s needs.
  • Teenagers attending dropout recovery charters – those youth who might have dropped out previously and had no plans to graduate but who are getting individualized education plans and a timeline of their own to earn a high-school diploma.
  • Students in one of our virtual schools who learn best through technology or who need the flexibility and personalization it affords.

I’m happy to celebrate National School Choice Week, and to unite with others across Ohio and the US in honor of how far we’ve come toward putting students’ needs first. If I can imagine wanting it for my own sons, I’m certain there are thousands of parents and families out there wishing the same for their children. It’s up to us to ensure equal access to quality school options, so that the availability of excellent schooling is no longer just about my kids, or your kids, but our kids.

- Darlene Chambers, Ph.D.