When I first heard a district administrator say, “Those Charter Schools are taking our students,” I almost hit the floor. And then I got mad. A school district does not own the kids in the district. A district may hope and expect local kids to attend the schools, but certainly has no right to them. It’s no secret parents have many choices for the education of their children. Approximately 25% of them in ISD 279 are currently taking advantage of those choices which include:
- Open enrollment into another district
- A magnet school (ISD 279 has several)
- A charter school
- A private school
- An online charter or private school
- Home school
Parents and students have every right to make the choice for themselves on where they attend school based on their wants, needs, and desires for their educational experience. And they should. Competition for students should drive our district to better understand the issues and develop programs or make changes that will address their concerns. Building a better product to meet customer needs is what is done every day outside of the world of education. It is time that school districts adopt that mindset. Do you want more students? Do you want to attract the best students? Do you want to keep the ones you have or continue to lose families to other school choices? The answer is simple. Build a better product.
The School Board kicked off an updated Strategic Plan earlier this year. While some have tried to focus on political or societal issues, I am trying to develop a plan that addresses and stays focused on curricular, safety, school environment, and other needs that have been highly ranked by parents. Parents want what is best for their children, and if we don’t provide it, they will look or move elsewhere to find it.