Gov. Mike Dunleavy is highlighting the choices Alaskans have when educating children, whether that be private, public, charter, religious, online or home-schools.
In observance of National School Choice Week, the governor issued a Jan. 24 proclamation in support of educational options across the state.
“We must exercise creativity in providing a multitude of excellent educational options for parents to choose from due to our state’s unique geographical challenges,” Dunleavy said. “Offering educational variety creates ways to diversify and enhance the vibrancy of our communities.”
In addition to traditional standard public schools, thousands of Alaska children are educated in more than 30 public charter schools and 30 publicly funded home-school programs like IDEA or Raven Correspondence. Alaska also has about 70 private or religious schools according to Private School Review, which compiles lists of private schools across the nation. Thousands of other Alaskan children are educated through independent home-schooling, which is not publicly funded.
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In 2020, many families were forced to homeschool due to school closures in the wake of COVID. In many cases, however, parents are choosing home or private schooling as a permanent option.
Nationally, School Choice Week is celebrated each year to raise awareness of the need for effective educational options to and encourage support for family access to educational choices. The National School Choice Week (NSCW) website notes that the annual celebration includes “tens of thousands of independent events” aimed at raising public awareness of options available to parents as they seek the best educational route for their children. Started in 2011, NSCW is now “the world’s largest annual celebration of opportunity in education,” the website notes.
“When we launched National School Choice Week in 2011, we endeavored to build an effort that spotlighted all types of schools equally, without criticizing or favoring any one option, said NSCW President Andrew Campanella. “We count thousands of traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online schools, and homeschool groups among our participants. We also pledged to be non-political, non-partisan, and relentlessly positive in our work to promote effective education options for children.”
Campanella said school choice is more personal than political.
“School choice is not about a government entity, or an organization, or an expert declaring that one type of school works best for all kids,” he said. “Instead, school choice means letting millions of moms and dads make millions of individual decisions, for their individual children, about the schools and learning environments that best meet their children’s needs.”
Click here to read Dunleavy’s proclamation for School Choice Week.