Arizona recently hosted school-choice supporters from across the country in Phoenix for National School Choice Week. Research conducted by Dr. David Garcia, Arizona State University, concludes that after nearly two decades of expanding choice options in our state, traditional public schools continue to be the choice for nearly nine out of 10 Arizona students. In fact, more than 3,500 students come to Kyrene for their education from outside our boundaries because parents are exercising their right to choose.
There are several important factors when comparing charter schools to traditional public schools. These factors often do not get a great deal of media attention.
Traditional schools offer a wide array of curricular and extracurricular experiences ranging from fine arts to competitive sports programs; many charter schools cannot. Some parents that make the choice to leave the traditional public setting may decide to provide those experiences for their children by paying for them out of their own pockets.
A number of students return to traditional public schools from charters because of the unavailability of these programs. In addition, transportation is often not a part of what a charter school provides.
As choices for education have proliferated in Arizona and particularly in the East Valley, Kyrene continues to compete favorably in the educational market.
We have developed Self-Contained Gifted Programs, a Dual Language Spanish Immersion Program, a Traditional Academy and a number of other options for parents. Individual schools have specialized offerings that are also very attractive to parents, from strong performing arts programs to a Leadership Academy based upon the work of Stephen Covey.
We firmly believe that Kyrene is the best choice for all students and their families and we will continue to explore excellent educational opportunities and choices for the future.
The response from our most recent Annual Parent Satisfaction Survey indicates that 94.8 percent of Kyrene parents who responded would give the school district an A or B grade. Kyrene has earned the grade of an A from the Arizona Department of Education in its statewide rating system.
Realtors and businesses recognize the important role Kyrene plays in property values, attracting investments in the area and building a prosperous economy.
The high quality of education provided here ensures that our school district will continue to be the choice of families as it has been for more than 125 years.
• Dr. David K. Schauer is superintendent of the Kyrene School District.