Ever since charter schools began opening their doors in the Buckeye State, there has been a constant debate on the schools taking away students and funding from the public school system. On Thursday, a local organization defended charter schools, saying they actually help the education process.
Charter schools, such as the Maritime Academy in north Toledo, have been popping up all over the state. Toledo was actually the first city in Ohio to have charter schools more than a decade ago. That is why a national school choice organization held a rally downtown to promote options in education for students.
Hundreds gathered at the Valentine Theater to show support for National School Choice Week. Organizers hoped to bring attention to the growing options students have outside of traditional public schooling. Toledo was one stop along a train ride across the country to help send the message that with education, one size does not fit all.
"We have to recognize that traditional public schools aren't right for every child. So, we need to provide parents with a robust menu of educational options," said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. "Because one size does not fit all. Every child is unique."
Virginia Ford has three sons, each were enrolled at a different school. She said the individual focus on the student is just one advantage that an alternative school can bring.
"Place children in an environment that nurtures them, that they're excited about. They will succeed. It raises the bar for them," said Ford.
Rachael Russen's daughter is enrolled in an online charter school. She said the one-on-one relationship between teacher and student is a must for quality education.
"I was homeschooled up through the sixth grade, and then I went to public school. So I do feel it is very important, yes. I don't want to leave that to a teacher that doesn't know my child very well," explained Russen.
Charter schools were not the only focus of the rally, even public schools were promoted as a viable option for students. The main message was instead to focus on the students' education, rather than the status quo.
"We need to focus on funding children, not on funding buildings, and not on worrying about the jobs of bureaucrats. The most important people in school buildings are students and teachers," said Campanella.
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