School Choice Week underway

January 28, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Governor John Kasich has signed a proclamation officially recognizing this week as “Ohio School Choice Week.” Kasich joins more than 20 other U.S. governors in issuing a National School Choice Week proclamation.

In issuing the resolution Kasich said, “Whereas, by observing National School Choice Week in Ohio, our citizens can truly recognize that Ohio is front and center in the important work of giving all children access to a quality education.”

Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, said National School Choice Week shines a spotlight on all effective education options for children. He said participants in National School Choice Week events in Ohio and across the country believe that children deserve greater access to challenging, motivating educational options – from high-performing public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.

Sciotoville Community Schools are a part of the charter school system in Ohio, meaning they are an alternative to public schools.

“We feel like we’re a unique type of charter school here in Scioto County in that we offer our students pretty much the same opportunities, activities, academic offerings that other schools in the county offer,” Sciotoville Community Schools Superintendent Rick Bowman said. “And that’s a pretty unique situation compared to many of the charter schools in the state that are primarily just academic in nature. The kids go to school there, but there is nothing else. It could be online. It could be a lot of different things, but there’s not a lot of extra activities. And in our case, here in Sciotoville, I think we operate in a way that most people in Scioto County don’t even know we’re a charter school, because (Portsmouth) East, 12 years ago, when they became Sciotoville Community Schools, kept that same identity that they had had for decades, and when we opened Sciotoville Elementary Academy, this being our fifth year, we’ve tried to continue doing those same things and those types of extra activities for students.”

Bowman said he believes one of the pluses the school has added to the education system is the involvement of parents and more community support.

“As far as we’re concerned in the Sciotoville Community Schools, obviously, school choice is a very important part of the education system in Ohio,” Bowman said. “When open enrollment came about years ago, I think there were a lot of questions about how it was going to work, and is this going to mess things up? And while there has been some headaches and growing pains with the open enrollment law, I think it has sort of settled in too, that there does have to be some sense of normalcy with that. And most schools participate in open enrollment, and I think that the advent of the charter school has also been an enhanced school choice for students and parents in the state of Ohio.”

With 130 events being held to celebrate the Week in Ohio alone – and with 3,500 total events spanning all 50 states – National School Choice Week is the world’s largest-ever celebration of education reform. Events include everything from rallies to round table discussions, coffeehouse meet-ups, festivals, school fairs, and more. Events include major events in Toledo and Cleveland — where National School Choice Week’s whistle-stop train will make stops this Thursday.

Campanella said National School Choice Week is an independent public awareness campaign. The Week is not partisan in nature and does not advocate for any legislation or political candidates. Aside from the Week’s kickoff celebration and a 14-stop, cross-country, whistle-stop train tour, all events are independently planned by students, parents, teachers, organizations and community members.

“We are grateful that Governor Kasich has officially recognized School Choice Week in Ohio,” Campanella said. “Millions of people in Ohio and across the country are united in their view that access to a quality education can provide a ticket to the American dream for children nationwide.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com