Guest opinion: An educator’s perspective on school choice

Educators are professionals. They study and train for years before having their first class of young minds to shape and mold. Even after five years of solo teaching they still don’t know everything about education; there’s always more to learn. Each student in each class is unique and has his/her own needs and teaches many things to his/her teacher.

Educators attend professional development classes, collaborate with other teachers, and many go on to receive a master’s in education.

Even still, educators never consider themselves as having arrived.

Education is a never-ending wheel of learning. Even with all of the opportunities educators have to improve and learn, they do not hold a flame to how well a parent knows what is best for his/her own child.

Parents are experts on their children. They know what their children like, what they don’t like, what triggers different emotions in each child, and what environment would be best to help each of their children learn. Parents want their children to learn well, so parents should have the right to choose which learning environment is best for each of their children, without additional financial burden.

This can be summed up in two small words: School choice. Those are two of the most powerful words in education.

As the principal of a private Christian school, I fully support and encourage raising awareness of school choice. When you factor in all of the amazing education options available to families today, public school, private school, home school, online school, and various hybrid options, education has never been so diverse and readily available to families as it is today.

When parents are aware of all the educational options available to them, it empowers them to know that one solution doesn’t fit everyone, and that’s okay.

I meet families frequently who are looking for the best education fit for one or more of their children. We’ve had several families over the years that choose to have one child at our school and choose for another child to attend an educational option that is better suited to that child’s needs.

If educational institutions will take their eyes off themselves and remember that education is really about helping children, then we would better see the benefit of school choice.

I live in a state that does not have a school choice financial program, but I still advocate for families to know all of the educational options available to them. I support parents in the educational calling they are listening to for each of their children. It’s a beautiful bond when families choose to partner with a particular educational institution.

As an educator, to know that parents have weighed all of their options and they are entrusting their child to our school is ever so humbling. With all of the love, skill, knowledge, and training that educators put into becoming the best teachers we can be, we should absolutely be encouraging school choice in our communities.

When parents have confidence in an educational institution, it makes our job as educators so much easier. It helps build communication bridges that will benefit the education and well being of the child. Working as a team between the educator, the parents, and the child, is where the rubber meets the road and where education flourishes.

School choice empowers parents to get involved in their child’s education.

School choice empowers educators to be constantly growing in their field.

School choice empowers communities to come together to provide the best quality education for children that they can.

Tiffany Gillespie is principal at Olympic Christian School.