Students, families explore school options at ‘Schools of Choice Fair’

Families explore educational options at school choice fair

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Students and families spent the day Saturday exploring a variety of educational options available across the region at the Rochester Schools of Choice Fair at Rochester Museum & Science Center.

Turnout was great Saturday, with dozens of families and students of all ages stopping by to learn more about what options are available when it comes to selecting a school.

“I was just surprised all the options and opportunities we had here outside of the Rochester City School District,” said Adem Soria. Soria and Maggie Newton spent the afternoon looking for the best choice for their son, Sterling.

“Just to see what’s available and different programs there are. We aren’t really sure what his interests will be yet, so we want to get a good idea of everything that’s available,” Newton said.

Rochester Schools of Choice Coalition representative Diamond Weaver says she’s encouraged to see so many parents interested in alternatives to public school.

“Parents should be able to have a choice on what decision to send their child to school at, whether it’s pre-k to kindergarten through 12th grade, especially on the child’s unique needs,” Weaver said.

Various private, parochial and public charter schools were all on hand, hoping to attract more students to their campuses.

This event comes while the Rochester City School District is requesting the state limit the expansion of charter schools in the region. That was among a number of state legislative priorities the Board of Education voted Tuesday on establishing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Board of Education president Cynthia Elliott had strong words for charter schools’ proliferation:

“This is a hustle. People have found that they can make money, and this is the way they’re doing it. They do not have to have the same kind of regulations that the school district has. If the kids are not performing well, if they get in any kind of problems there, they send those kids back into the district. You tell me that’s an equal education? No, not at all. They are the biggest hustle going, they are the biggest hustle going. They don’t perform, most of them, any better (than) we perform,” Elliott said in calling for a moratorium from the state.

Board of Education commissioner James Patterson defended school choice at Tuesday’s meeting.

“That’s money well spent if those students are in charter schools and are happy and their families are happy with them being there. I’ve always said that we should compete here in the district – and for me when you talk about bringing dollars back – wherever those students are happy, where their parents have those kids, they’re happy, that’s money well spent for me,” Patterson said, adding, “We have to compete against these charter schools. I’m o0kay with competition, and I hope that we can bring some (students) back.”

For more information about schools that participated in Saturday’s fair, visit here.