Is school choice an option for all?

School choice is a hot button issue aiming to provide students with the best education possible, but is it attainable by everyone?

Anahi Jaimes says she is lucky to have two of her children in public charter schools, an option that better fits their needs.

"My kids' first language was Spanish. When I brought them to Harmony, within the year they were already speaking English very well," says Anahi Jaimes, parent.

She was one of about 100 parents that attended a meeting Wednesday night at the KIPP Austin Public Schools in South Austin.

It brought together area lawmakers school officials in the community to talk about what's best for the students; which is why John Armbrust founded Austin Achieve Public Schools in East Austin.

"The neighborhood we serve, the school where our kids were zoned, was literally ranked the worst middle school in the entire state of Texas four years ago and these families are low income families. It's not like they can go to a private school, they need something else that's in their neighborhood, in their backyard because they are thirsty for a higher-quality school and they have that right," says John Armbrust, Austin Achieve Public Schools.

But there are more than 100,000 students on waiting lists, according to the Texas Charter School Association.

That's why Monty Exter with the Association of Texas Professional Educators says there is one thing we should all keep in mind.

"The vast majority of students are and always will be educated in the public school system. It's important to really help that system be the best that it possibly can," says Monty Exter, Association of Texas Professional Educators.

He says to focus on choices within the public school system before looking anywhere else.

"The voucher issue is taking state dollars or dollars that would've otherwise been state dollars and turning them over to a private institution that has no play in the state system," says Exter.


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