Originally published in the Mohave Valley Daily News – December 10, 2019
The results of the Arizona State University Morrison Institute for Public Policy poll revealed public education is No. 3 concern for Arizonans behind health insurance and water quality.
As an educator, I’m pleased to see our communities agree that this should be a top priority, and I absolutely support the other education-specific issues respondents said were important, like school safety, teacher pay and class size.
What concerns me, however, is that only 29% of Arizonans believe we need to focus on increasing our state’s charter options. Charter schools are incredibly important for so many students, especially those who choose to attend public school at home. Online schools serve students with medical issues who struggle to maintain a traditional school schedule, students who were bullied, and even students who just want to get a head start on post-high school life. The Insight Academy of Arizona, for example, offers our high school students a variety of virtual career technical education classes in IT, business and health and human services, exposing students to opportunities in those fields early and putting them on a path to gain relevant skills and experiences that prepare them for their future.
The reasons Arizona students might need, or want, to attend a charter school are many and they should absolutely have the opportunity to do so. Arizona students will suffer if we keep putting charter schools at the bottom of our education to-do list.
Dr. Kelly Van Sande