Op-Ed: What happens when public schools lose students?
Many states have put in place programs meant to promote home schooling or keep students out of public schools. But a growing movement of parents, mostly from the Northeast, is pushing back, challenging the programs as discriminatory and trying to open the door wider to alternatives in other areas of the country.
From New York City to Washington state, parents are making sure that children aren’t the only ones being left outside the public school system.
New York City will begin the first-ever year-round school day for students here in June. At a time when schools here close four school days a week, the one day that they will have open on the calendar has a much greater impact.
“When I first heard about this it was a lightbulb moment for me. I realized this was an opportunity we had to be part of building an integrated system that works for all students,” says NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It has huge potential for our city.”
The new schedule will be a three-day school year, but the school district will not follow a traditional, four-day school day like most cities do. In addition to two days of instruction, one day of free play with other children will be added for students who use the program.
The school year will be open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The plan to open the school year to parents is only the beginning. According to New York state, nearly 90 percent of children who are enrolled in private schools do not have school records.
That leaves the door open for parents to send their students to any school they want, rather than taking them to a public school which is mandated by school officials. That is, until recently. But the New York Legislature enacted a law forbidding the state’s school districts from discriminating against homeschoolers, private school students or other