Shopping For Schools At EAGLE College Prep
More than a year ago, I sat down with Suzanne Johnson and Matt Hoehner to discuss the charter school they were planning to open – EAGLE College Prep. Yesterday, I finally had a chance to visit the school and I was very excited about what I saw. Students were actively engaged with teachers, in both learning centers and on computers. I am a big fan of the school’s blended learning model, which incorporates technology and individualized instruction.
The best thing, however, had little to do with what students were doing in the classroom and much to do with what parents were doing there – shopping.
While I was waiting in the office for Hoehner, the executive director, I met a couple waiting for Johnson, the school leader. The couple has a son who will be entering kindergarten next year. They were waiting to take a tour. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is a fundamental shift in how we operate our public school system.
In the past, most parents simply accepted the school to which they were assigned. Sure, some expressed choice by purchasing a home in a good school district and some chose to send their children to private schools. The vast majority of parents, however, had very little ability to shop for their child’s school. That is changing thanks to charter schools.
Approximately 25 percent of public school students in Saint Louis attend charter schools and 40 percent in Kansas City attend charter schools. These schools offer parents the opportunity to choose the school that will best meet the needs of their children.
I have no idea if the couple will end up choosing to send their children to EAGLE College Prep, but I am excited to see parents empowered to choose through school choice.