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Offer More Options & Choices

The vision

Students, teachers, and families will benefit from more flexibility and choice with respect to how, when and where learning takes place. Students must be prepared to think critically, solve problems as they arise and exist comfortably in an ever-changing world. This means public school districts must have flexibility to design learning opportunities that really work for students and boards of education need the latitude to organize programs that extend beyond the typical school and classroom format. It also means a greater mix and variety of pathways to graduation and more opportunities for hands-on learning such as skills, trades, and technical training.

Why is this important?

Every student is an individual with unique needs and will be expected to master common rigorous expectations. Not every school or district has the resources to offer myriad options to meet the needs of every student. It has therefore become more common for states to allow students to enroll in schools outside their neighborhood or even their district. For example, while one high school may offer career pathways in science, another may invest resources in performing arts. Some schools may offer their courses online, available to students across the state. Consortia of schools and districts may offer transportation to connect students with programs that meet their needs. To further expand options, schools partner with community organizations to support authentic learning experiences aligned with high standards. There is some evidence that when offered a choice of schools, students who attend their first choice school are more likely to complete high school on time and attend college.15


15     Deming, D., Hastings, J., Kane, T. & Staiger, D. 2011. School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment. NBER Working Paper No. 17438 September 2011. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.