School Choice: Because Not Everyone Belongs in a STEM School

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(NewsUSA) - Have you heard parents talking about "school choice" this year? The odds are good you've heard it in different ways, by different people, and as president of National School Choice Week, I want to clear it up as we celebrate this year.

Imagine three second-graders: Diego, Janela, and Taylor. Diego is a talented writer and artist whose family would love him to maintain the Spanish he grew up learning. Janela is a math whiz with a passion for soccer. Taylor is a robotics and engineering enthusiast whose dyslexia makes reading a challenge.

Each of these children -- and all children -- are different. It's no surprise that children's different needs and talents are best served by different learning environments. That's what school choice is all about: each family being able to choose, from an array of options, the education that best helps their child be inspired, be successful, and be happy. That's why National School Choice Week, which takes place January 24-30 this year, celebrates schools of every type, from traditional public schools to homeschooling.

One of the aspects of National School Choice Week that most excites me is how it shines a light on students' diverse talents. The world doesn't thrive on everyone being an Albert Einstein! We need great artists, great engineers, great mathematicians, and more for communities to be healthy and happy. During National School Choice Week, there will be students sharing on social media how a great school fit changed their lives, students sharing their skills in virtual showcases, and students leading school spirit activities for their peers.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, an unprecedented number of families were introduced to or tried a new learning environment this year, whether it was a microschool or a traditional public school's hybrid plan. Education options are out there, and National School Choice Week unites families and educators in spreading awareness and tips about these options. In the midst of a challenging school year, National School Choice Week leavens the education conversation by reminding us that when kids' talents are matched to the right learning environments, student success stories ensue.

Kids have different strengths: some are a little more like Einstein and some are a little more like DaVinci. That's a good thing. This National School Choice Week, let's celebrate how quality educational choices help kids -- in all their uniquenesses -- learn well and be happy. That's what school choice really means.

Andrew Campanella is president of National School Choice Week and the author of "The School Choice Roadmap: 7 Steps to Finding the Right School for Your Child."