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Parental Right to Choose

A home education is very different than any other form.
A home education is very different than any other form.
Emily L. Goodman

How much right do parents have to choose the education that their children receive? In most cases, Americans would say absolute rights (finances permitting). American parents have the choice of public schools, private schools, or homeschooling—and throughout most of America, virtual schooling is now becoming an option for many parents and students.

It’s a different kind of education. It’s not one that works for everyone, just like a religious private school education or traditional homeschooling aren’t for everyone. But doesn’t every student have the right to be educated in the way that works best for them? Doesn’t every parent have the right to choose what education is best for their child?

A virtual schooling education is as different from a traditional brick and mortar education as a private school education, or traditional homeschooling. It offers opportunities that are not necessarily available to brick and mortar students, and it lacks some of the opportunities (clubs and socialization, among others) that are readily available in traditional schools. It’s not supposed to be identical to a traditional education. The entire point of having choices is that they are different.

And parents have the right to choose how they want their children to learn.

It is very possible that in some regards, a virtual education is not the same quality as a traditional brick and mortar education. Virtual schooled students lack the classroom interaction that is so prevalent in a brick and mortar school. They do less group work. Fewer competitive projects, like science and social studies fairs. They don’t have as many chances for clubs or sports.

They also have more one-on-one interaction with their teachers than their peers in brick and mortar schools. Their parents are far more actively involved in their educations. They have the ability to choose when they complete the majority of their schoolwork, and if they have an “off” day, they can make the work up later instead of being forced to accept a “0” for incomplete work. They can go back and review lessons at their own pace, as often as they need to in order to grasp a new concept. They can proceed a little bit faster through lessons that they understand more readily.

Don’t parents have the right to choose for themselves which of those methods of education is more attractive?