COVID-19 still impacting parent decisions during National School Choice Week

MARYLAND – National School Choice Week is underway, and many parents are weighing the best options for their child’s education.

Difficulties around learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many parents to choose private school over public school. “Students we’ll see come to us from some of those virtual learning situations, or simply because of the virtual learning situation. We’ve had several students come to us simply because they weren’t having mentally successful and healthy times,” said Head of Seaside Christian Academy Dr. Mark Zockoll.

President of National School Choice Week Andrew Campanella says COVID-19 forced many parents to be more involved in their child’s education than ever before. “The quality of education and mitigating learning loss as a result of COVID-19 has surpassed the disruptions that COVID-19 has wrought on the education system is the top reason,” he said. “We’re seeing kids five months behind in math, four months behind on reading on average. Last year, we saw 1.1 million kids did not get a formal education.”

Dr. Zockoll says Seaside Christian Academy’s enrollment numbers doubled in 2020, as parents reconsidered their children’s learning options. He says that trend is continuing. “Last year the school was around 125. This year, we’re at about 200. So, we’re still seeing significant, not quite doubling growth, but extremely significant growth,” he said.

Beyond the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Zockoll says school choice is important, simply because one learning environment doesn’t always fit all. “Any teacher worth their salt will tell you when you’re able to partner with the home, when you’re able to have critical alignment between what the home is teaching and what the school is teaching, we’re in a really good spot. School choice allows for that,” he said.

Camponella says parents should get started on their school choice process as soon as possible. “If you start earlier, you’ll find more availability. The second reason I encourage parents to do that is it gives them enough to time to ask questions, visit schools, and really consider their options, while at the same time, providing a good feedback loop to schools,” he said.

National School Choice Week ends on January 29th. For more information, click here.

Categories: Coronavirus, Education, Local News, Maryland