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Exploring School Choice

July 27, 20233 min read

“The idea of school choice is spreading like wildfire around the country, because it's the one education reform that puts real choices and real opportunities in the hands of families who desperately need them.”


Hey there, fellow parents and education enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the world of school choice and exploring various alternatives to traditional public schools. Education is an essential part of every child's journey, and it's great to have options that cater to your child's unique needs and interests. So, let's get started!

Exploring School Choice

Before we explore the various options, keep in mind that the availability of these choices may vary depending on your state and local laws. Now, let's take a look at some of the school choice options:

Traditional Public School: 

This is your neighborhood school, and attendance is generally determined by your residential address. The school district is responsible for providing Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under IDEA to all children within its assigned borders.

Public Magnet School: 

Magnet schools are specialized public schools within a district, offering unique programs that attract students from across the district. Each magnet school focuses on a particular area of study.

Open Enrollment: 

Open Enrollment allows public school students to attend a school other than their assigned neighborhood school. Depending on local laws, students may be able to enroll in other schools within their district or even in different districts across the state.

Charter School: 

Charter schools are public schools run by private organizations. They offer flexibility in educational approaches, ranging from classical education to Montessori, providing diverse options compared to traditional public schools.

Online Charter School: 

Online Charter Schools are public schools that operate online and follow IDEA guidelines, providing special education services when needed.

Private School Private Pay: 

Private schools are not subject to IDEA regulations, so they may or may not offer special education services. Some private schools focus on special education but might cater to specific populations or offer specialized services.

Private School Private Placement: 

In this scenario, the school district responsible for providing FAPE under IDEA pays the tuition for the student to attend a private school that meets their needs.


A voucher is a direct payment from the school district or funding agency to a private school that provides educational services to a particular student.

STOs Tax Credit: 

Scholarship Tax Credit Organizations collect donations from donors in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar credit on their state taxes. Tax credit scholarships allow taxpayers to direct their taxes to educational scholarships.

Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA): 

Also known as ESAs, these accounts place the students' allotted funding in an account provided by the state or locality. Parents can use these funds to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, therapies, curricula, and other educational services and materials, providing greater flexibility.

Tax Credit Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: 

This option combines the flexibility of ESAs with funding through tax credits.


Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Each state has its guidelines for homeschooling, so make sure to research your local laws. Homeschooling involves parents or legal guardians taking responsibility for their child's education, and there are numerous supportive communities to help you navigate the process.

Now, to make your research easier, here are some valuable resources to explore school choice options:

Lastly, if you're interested in hybrid learning options and examples, check out these innovative solutions that parents, teachers, and therapists have developed:

Remember, school choice empowers parents to find the best education for their children. Each child is unique, and having options allows us to nurture their potential fully. Take your time, do your research, and together, we can support our children's educational journey! Happy exploring!

A heartfelt thank you to Kathy Visser for her invaluable contributions as a contributing author to this blog post. Her expertise in the field of school choice has enriched our content, and we're grateful for her dedication to empowering parents and advocating for the rights of children in their educational journey.

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