Thoughts on School Choice, part 1

By Sara Myer, Esq.

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This week, we are honored to have another guest blogger for the PA Virtual Blog: East Parent Ambassador Regional Coordinator, Sara Myer. Sara is a 2003 graduate of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law and holds a juris doctorate in law as well as a certificate in mediation and conflict resolution. Her family has been with PA Virtual since 2009, with son Gavin currently in 5th grade, son Rhys in 4th, and  5-year-old daughter Bryn looking forward to enrolling with PA Virtual next year.

In this first of two installments Sara crafted regarding school choice, she shares her views from the perspective of a parent:

As A Parent

When I think about school choice as a parent, I recall how my own family chose to think outside the educational box and found PA Virtual. I was the type of parent who assumed that my children would go to our local public school. The thought of homeschooling, or cyber schooling, or even seeking out a charter school never crossed my mind and I sent my oldest son off to kindergarten thinking it was the obvious, and only, choice.

It took only a few weeks to realize that this “obvious choice” wasn’t working so well for him. He was older than the other students in his class (due to his September birthday and school cut-off dates) and had completed three years of preschool. He was so well prepared for kindergarten that he was, in fact, somewhat over-prepared (if there is such a thing) and had already mastered the kindergarten curriculum.

No problem, I thought. He could simply work ahead. But it was a problem, at least according to his kindergarten teacher who had many other students to attend to. My child would have to, in her words, “hang out” until everybody caught up. And so he spent his public school kindergarten days (which were by this time numbered) in the back of the classroom listening to audio books.

This was not an acceptable solution for us, so I was thrilled to learn that I had other choices for my child’s education! He didn’t, in fact, need to “hang out” until his peers caught up to him. Instead, I could enroll him in a school that allowed him to work at his own pace. It turned out to the best decision I ever made for my son and today he continues to work happily in this model, with teachers who have never once suggested he take a slower pace.

In next week’s blog, Sara shares her perspective on school choice from her point of view as a lawyer. What do you think about school choice in PA? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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