Public School Choice

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Cutting-edge programs and quality choices are increasingly available to public school students across the state, to the benefit of Texas families and the state’s future economy. Public school districts are offering innovative program options in an effort to personalize education and engage students.

What is Public School Choice?

Texas public schools are different in the 21st century. One-size-fits-all institutions where students enter with similar needs and exit with similar achievements are a thing of the past.

Across Texas, public school districts are embracing and expanding opportunities for students and families to customize their educational journeys. This leads to public school graduates with knowledge and experience beyond the basics, with skills and exposure to career and college opportunities never dreamed of by previous generations of Texans.

Examples of Public School Choice

Students and families have a myriad of school options. Examples include:

Neighborhood Schools

The guaranteed campus for every Texas student based on home address

Magnet, Academy, or Specialty Campus

(Fine Arts, Montessori, Medical, STEM, Single-Gender, Dual Language, etc.)

Students enroll or apply to a campus or program focused on a particular path of study that may provide a certification; may be a stand-alone campus or located within a traditional campus; campus may be outside the student’s zoned campus

Early College High Schools

Students enrolled in high school take college courses to receive college credit prior to graduation; may be a stand-alone campus or located within a traditional campus; campus may be outside the student’s zoned campus

Open-Enrollment Districts

Students living outside district boundaries may transfer to the district

Open-Enrollment Campuses

Students may transfer to campuses outside their neighborhood campus within a district

Charter Schools

Charter schools are operated by non-profits, universities, or other governmental bodies. Open-enrollment charters serve students from a defined geographic area and are open to any student residing in that area.

Beyond campus selection, public school districts offer numerous innovative courses and choice initiatives as diverse and unique as Texas students themselves. From rural to urban districts, students benefit from programs that are designed to customize learning experiences. Examples include:

  • Career-Focused Internships, Mentorships, and Apprenticeships  
  • Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB)  
  • Credit Recovery for students at-risk of dropping out
  • Career and technology courses
  • Robust extracurricular programs, such as Robotics, Chess, Speech & Debate, Band & Orchestra, ROTC, and Athletics
  • Nontraditional school & classroom structure, such as year-round school, extended school day, and Blended Learning.

Public School Choice Rises from Connection with Community

Harlingen CISD asked the community what it wants for students – the answers sparked a district transformation and new opportunities for all students.

District Sets Successful Choice Example

With more than 20 open-enrollment campuses, Grand Prairie ISD is turning public school into a rich, personal experience for each student.

Overcoming the Odds: Opportunity in Brownsville ISD Empowers Students

More than 95 percent of BISD students are economically disadvantaged and nearly a third are ELL. How do the district and its students consistently outperform expectations?

Small Town, Big Dreams

Roscoe Collegiate ISD in rural Texas is on the cutting edge of school choice with students taking advantage of innovations previous generations only dreamt of.

Homegrown Professionals

An alliance forged between one public school district and its community provides high school students the opportunity to explore real-world work in high-demand fields.

Choice Starts Young in Texas Public Schools

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD is transforming expectations for its students by offering innovative choices like its Suzuki Strings program for the district’s youngest learners.

Quality Public School Choice Interactive Story

Districts across the state are embracing quality school choice in a variety of ways. Explore this interactive story to learn more about locally driven innovations and choice opportunities for Texas families.


Vouchers Aren’t The Answer

Only public schools can deliver on the promise of quality school choice with both transparency and accountability in the use of public dollars. Private school vouchers represent a failed experiment in educational autonomy. Vouchers reduce fair access to educational opportunity, weaken public accountability, remove rights for students with disabilities, and expose taxpayers to fraud.

Texas Public School Choice Spinner

International studies. Career and technology pathways. Dual language elementary education. And on and on.

Public schools in Texas are changing. They are dynamic and diverse, and they continue to add new options and innovative programs to meet the needs and passions of Texas students, the future of our state.

Our new “school choice spinner” features just a few examples among thousands of public school choice options available to Texas students and families. Click on the wheel below to see quality public school choice in action at districts across the state. Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come as we encourage all public schools to expand and enrich learning opportunities for all students.

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