School Choice

Educational options for children in grades K-12

School choice or school confusion? This page provides information about the different options families have when choosing a school for their child.

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Types of K12 Schools

District-run Schools (public)

Serving 47 million K12 students

Public schools are learning institutions that are funded by local, state and/or federal governments. Neighborhood schools, magnet schools, community schools, innovation and choice schools are all district-run public schools.

Homeschools

Serving 3.7 million K12 students

Homeschooling is a progressive movement around the country in which parents educate their children at home instead of sending them to a traditional public or private school.

Charter Schools (public)

Serving 3.4 million K12 students

Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that have the freedom to design programs that best meet their students’ needs. All charter schools operate under a contract with an authorizer, typically a local board of education, that holds them accountable to the standards outlined in their contract (charter).

Online Schools

Serving 300,000 K12 students

Online schools, virtual, cyber or eLearning all refer to an educational program that is taught entirely online using technology. Online schools have instructors and a structured curriculum.

Private Schools

Serving 5.7 million K12 students

Private, or independent, schools are privately owned and funded without the assistance of local, state or federal governments. At private schools, students pay tuition to attend.

Learning Pods

Micro-schools, pods, pandemic pods, and learning pods all refer to the same concept - students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize.

Find a School

The National Center for Education Statistics is the part of the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences that collects, analyzes, and publishes statistics on education and public school district finance information in the United States.

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Explore the best schools in your area based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education.

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For over 16 years, SchoolDigger.com has helped millions of parents evaluate school performance and quality. We have test scores, rankings, school and district boundaries, student/teacher ratios, ethnic makeup, and scores of other useful metrics and information for over 120,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States!

Additional Resources

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The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement.

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The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) is a nonprofit membership association that provides services to more than 1,600 independent private K-12 schools in the U.S.

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The National Center for Education Statistics is the part of the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences that collects, analyzes, and publishes statistics on education and public school district finance information in the United States.

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The National Homeschooling Associatioin is the national headquarters for home schooling in America. The NHSA provides comprehensive support, programs, activities, and resources to the nationwide community of homeschoolers.

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National School Choice Week was founded in 2011 to promote the concept of all forms of school choice: district schools, district magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, and home schooling.

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Parents reaches 12 million readers a month and is committed to creating the most comprehensive, supportive, and honest parenting content for our community of caregivers.

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The mission of the US Department of Education is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.