Every Child Is Unique — That’s Why School Choice is Common Sense

No single school can meet the needs of every child who happens to live within a certain radius. This isn’t controversial; it’s common sense. No one thinks the government should assign people a grocery store, hospital, college, or pre-school. Somehow, when it comes to K-12 education, common sense seems to fly out the window.

For example, teachers’ union leaders in West Virginia called a strike last year to prevent families from having education options. Here in Pennsylvania, the same union leaders actively campaign against tax credit scholarships. And charter schools have always been a target for national and local unions.

Even the top-ranked schools can’t meet the needs of every unique child. The fact that parents in the “best” school districts still choose options like homeschooling or private schools is proof. People choose an educational environment for many reasons—safety, size, values, atmosphere, and more. The reasons for choosing a school are as diverse as the people choosing them.

Sometimes medical issues are behind a family’s choice. Cyber schools can offer flexibility for students with unique needs. That’s the case for Lisa and Bob Washko, whose daughter Paige attends PA Leadership Charter School (PALCS).

We chose PALCS for a few reasons: most importantly, because it fit best with Paige’s health condition of Orthostatic Intolerance. This condition causes severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, and abrupt drops in blood pressure. When she was in typical school, we would get phone calls several days a week saying she needed to go home because the school district couldn’t be responsible if she were to faint.

When her dad and I were looking at cyber programs, [PALCS] looked to have many courses to choose from and plenty of support. It also came highly recommended from a current student and an alumnus.

Because of Paige’s health condition, she has to stay as physically active as possible. She does ballet 5 days a week, so PALCS allows the flexibility for ballet classes and rehearsal times.

As a family, we couldn’t be happier with PALCS!

Every child is unique, and the local district school isn’t always the right fit. Thousands of Pennsylvania kids utilize school choice options. However, government policies—like tax credit scholarship caps and giving school districts veto power over charter schools—leave thousands more on waiting lists.

As lawmakers prepare for the upcoming budget season, it’s crucial they remember the kids throughout Pennsylvania who have no choices when it comes to their education. We have much to celebrate in the final days of National School Choice Week, but there’s also much work to be done.