Parents could have more school choice

By: Samantha Andre Email
By: Samantha Andre Email

First at Five, February 12, 2008

AIKEN CTY, S.C.--- Elementary school parents in Aiken County have the option of sending their student to any school in the district. Now the school board is talking about giving that same option to middle schoolers.

Teritia Dunn says she's always paid attention to her kid's education. Her three children have ADHD, and she says they need extra attention.

She didn't think her son Sean Quintin was getting it.

"He passed to the third grade, but he's at a first grade reading level. And that's awful," she said.

She decided to enroll all three of her kids at Redcliffe Elementary, which is forty minutes from her house.

"It's a slight hassle getting up and coming home from school but it's worth it to me," said Dunn.

Parents of elementary students in Aiken County can choose any school for any reason.

This is the first year parents have that option and about 300 have taken advantage of it. The school board says they just want to give parents as many options as possible.

There is one catch, though. Transportation is not provided.

"I'd rather see the bus come to my house to pick them up to take them to whatever school of my choice," she said.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, nine Aiken County Schools did not meet adequate yearly progress two years in a row, so the county has to provide transportation if parents choose another school.

The elementary school closest to Teritia is not on this list, but it did receive a "below average" rating for its 2007 school report card.

Teritia says that's low enough for the county to provide transportation.

"If they're in a school with a low rating, then that's letting you know your child isn't getting adequate education," she said.

She'll continue to take the kids to school on her own, saying it's the best she can do for them.

"It would look like they're not gonna learn as much as everybody else, but I feel that if they got the chance they're gonna do it," said Dunn.

Parents of elementary students who want to switch schools must apply with the school board by March 14th.


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