Parents are gearing up, trying to make the best educational decision for their child.
Because of the Public School Choice Act of 2015, parents in Arkansas now have the opportunity to choose the best school for their kid no matter what school zone they live in. But not everyone believes new choices are helping public education.
“Every child has individual needs and children cannot be put into a cookie cutter. They’re all different.” said Lt. Governor Tim Griffin.
Hundreds of families gathered at the Northwest Arkansas School Choice Festival in Springdale on Saturday. The event aimed at giving parents a look at what schools in our area have to offer.
“Fayetteville public schools has traditional schools but we also have a Fayetteville virtual academy.” said Associate Superintendent Dr. Steven Weber of Fayetteville Public Schools.
“We wanted to participate and show the flexibility that we have in a virtual environment.” said Darla Gardener, the Principal of Arkansas Connections Academy.
Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin is one of many state officials that heavily advocates for school choice.
“The idea of a consumer choosing to shop in different places, to have different options that’s American. The same with education.” said Lt. Gov. Griffin.
“Parents have their most prized possession, their child and their child should have the best choice and the best option for their child.” said Dr. Weber.
But with more educational opportunities and choices available. Some school officials feel it creates unnecessary competition between schools in our area.
“You sometimes have to market yourself, and let people know that you are a choice. On our Facebook everything we enter on Facebook we put the choice, because we want people to know that Springdale is a great choice for their kids,” said Rick Schaeffer, with Springdale Public Schools.
But Lt. Gov. Griffin is sticking to his guns.
“I know a few people are scared of the change, particularly those in certain jobs because competition can be scary but let me tell you. Competition is fabulous because it makes everybody better.” Griffin said.
Ultimately, regardless of the amount of schooling options, parents say it’s up to the individual needs of the kid to decide which schooling is right for them.
“He’s going to middle school next year and it’s a big decision we have to make. So we are trying all the options and see all the options that they offer to see what is the best for him.” said Olga Moore, who lives in Northwest Arkansas.