Originally published on January 16, 2023.
Arkansas schools, organizations, and individuals are planning 303 celebrations of educational opportunity this month as traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online learning options, private schools, and home educators highlight their unique choices.
During the last two years, families and educators in Arkansas have faced the academic consequences of the pandemic. A survey this month by the National School Choice Awareness Foundation showed that 53.7 percent of parents have recently explored or are currently considering new options for their child's education. During School Choice Week 2023, parents can learn about school choice and attend local events as they consider their K-12 options for the next school year.
Across the country, parents can choose between traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, online learning, private schools, homeschooling, and newer options like learning pods or microschooling.
But the specifics of these options vary from state to state. In Arkansas, there are some limits on open enrollment, like seat capacity and desegregation orders, but families may be able to transfer to a public school of choice outside their neighborhood. The state offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Arkansas Connections Academy and Arkansas Virtual Academy. Lastly, Arkansas offers state-run scholarship programs for students in foster care, students with disabilities, dependents of U.S. military, and students from low-income families.
Across the state, events that are positive, supportive of a wide variety of school options, and family-friendly are planned, from in-school activities to large celebrations. Among the notable celebrations in Arkansas will be an indoor rally in Little Rock. Little Rock Union Plaza will light up on Jan. 22 with the colors of school choice.
"We look forward to Arkansas families using School Choice Week to forge partnerships and foster authentic conversations about what it looks like to put kids first in education", said Andrew Campanella, president and CEO of the National School Choice Awareness Foundation. "School choice is about helping students to find learning opportunities where they discover their talents and grow academically."
To download a guide to Arkansas school choice, use the school finder tool to search schools in your area or see celebration photos visit schoolchoiceweek.com/arkansas.
Local celebrants are available to discuss their plans with reporters upon request.
National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, public charter, public magnet, online, private, and homeschooling. Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities. The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.
To learn more about Arkansas Virtual Academy, visit https://arva.k12.com/.