As a former Arizona State Senator, longtime advocate for children, families, and education, and as a mother, I know the important role that parents play in embracing school choice that supports whole child development. And as a board member at the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, I believe an essential part of school choice is the ability for parents to opt into educational methodologies that better suit the specific needs of their children.
Why emphasize whole child development? It overcomes the limitations of traditional and standardized classroom learning. It promotes better retention of knowledge and skills through creative engagement. It goes beyond the academic needs of a child toward cultivating their entire social emotional well-being.
As a result, students achieve a higher degree of success, and experience improved long-term outcomes.
School choice is vital in empowering our children to develop holistically, rather than aiming to become merely good students or high achievers. When parents support school choice, they become advocates for the overall well being of society, not just for their own children. Students who have access to schools that provide flexible learning arrangements obtain more than an education: they gain crucial social skills and critical thinking abilities that enable them to grow into engaged citizens.
A key part of school choice is the availability of blended and online learning options. The innovative use of technology in both physical and virtual classrooms allows educators to provide a customized curriculum that better fits the needs of individual students. It enables schools to adapt to any requirements a student may have for an adjusted pace of learning, address the safety concerns of parents, and provide students with physical disabilities or mental health issues with equal access to a high-quality education.
I am pleased to support FBOL’s mission to advance and improve the availability and quality of blended and online educational opportunities, and see this as a natural extension of my lifelong commitment to advocacy through public service. Through our Student Scholarship Program, Innovative Educator Grants and original research, we promote the right of parents to make school choices that create better futures for their children—not just better classrooms.