Charleston P&C: Parents deserve school options

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Monopoly: a fun board game, not a smart K-12 educational policy

Great editorial in last week’s Charleston Post and Courier:

Parents deserve school options

When they read in Saturday’s newspaper about the sacrifices Candace Capers makes for her children’s education, a sympathetic public offered her money, job assistance and even a car. The response was heartwarming for the single mother whose children live with her grandmother and attend schools in Mount Pleasant rather than live with her and attend struggling downtown schools.

On our Commentary page yesterday, Dr. Nancy McGinley, superintendent of the Charleston County School District, lamented that parents are not all aware of the progress that is being made in schools — including inner-city schools like the ones Ms. Capers avoids.

While we appreciate the superintendent’s efforts and applaud the progress that the district has made in the past five years, we also appreciate Ms. Capers’ predicament. Poorer-performing schools might be getting better, but their scores still aren’t at the level of schools like Whitesides Elementary or Moultrie Middle. The Capers children have 12 years each to get an education, and their mother made the decision that waiting for test scores to catch up isn’t an option for her children.

Other parents face a similar situation. Who knows how many would like to follow Ms. Capers’ example, but lack the wherewithal to do so?

Children should have every opportunity to learn well and score high. Families ought to have options, and taking advantage of those options shouldn’t be so difficult.

One argument against schools giving parents choices goes like this: Committed parents like Ms. Capers will leave poor schools behind, and, in doing so, will leave those schools with a dearth of parental support.

We don’t have a good answer for that. We don’t know how to get children from one part of the county to another where schools fill their needs better. Maybe some of the district’s trustees can offer a clue.

But we believe that children like Candace Capers’ three youngsters shouldn’t have to sleep on the floor at their great-grandmother’s house in order to get the education their mother wants for them.

By all means, keep up the crusade to make all schools good schools. If that happens, the whole problem will simply go away. Meanwhile, practical options should be available for parents and children who want a choice.

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