Choosing A School For Your Child
Revised August 2007

PDF (1 MB)

en Español

Letter from the Secretary

Dear Parents,

Do you remember when your child was born, how your child quickly wrapped all five fingers around your one? Your child will continue to grasp your hand throughout childhood and youth. You are your child's first and lifelong teacher. And, as a parent and teacher, you will make important decisions for your child.

Some of the most important decisions you will make are about your child's education. You want your child's school to meet the same goals of high academic achievement you have set. You may want your child's school to reflect the values of your family and community. In other words, you want to choose a school that is a good fit for your child. In an increasing number of communities in our nation, you now have the ability to do so.

This booklet, Choosing a School for Your Child, is a type of "decision tool" that can help you navigate the process of choosing a school. It explains some of the public school choices now available in many communities and covers private school options that may be available as well. It outlines steps that you can follow to help you make a thoughtful choice, and it includes questions that you might want to ask when gong through the process.

In addition, this booklet highlights new options for your child's education provided in the federal law, the No Child Left Behind Act. The law allows parents whose children are in public schools that need improvement or are unsafe, to choose other public schools or take advantage of free tutoring or extra educational help.

The law also supports the growth of more independent public charter schools and funds some services for children in private schools. Finally, it mandates states and local school districts to provide a wealth of new information to help you make informed educational choices for your child.

School choice can help give every child an excellent education. It is amazing what can happen when parents get involved. School choice gives you more opportunities to achieve your expectations for your child. Armed with options and information, you can be a powerful advocate for your child.

I offer you Choosing a School for Your Child as a tool with practical information to help you make informed decisions about your child's education. I wish you success with this challenge.

Margaret Spellings
U.S. Department of Education

For additional resources on choosing a school, you can
visit the U.S. Department of Education's page for parents at
or the page on school choice at

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Last Modified: 03/26/2019