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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is right to urge parents to work harder to choose best public schools for their kids: editorial

July 04, 2013 The Plain Dealer Editorial Board

It may still be summer, but Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon, want to spread the word that parents should start enrolling their children in the district's most effective public schools or its best district-sponsored charter schools.

Parents ought to heed their sensible advice.

It will help children learn and the school district improve when parents become more involved in finding top-notch schools for their children instead of settling for second-rate settings.

It may be a head-spinning cultural shift for some parents, but it's a shift worth making if it will bolster the district's comprehensive school reform plan, which Cleveland voters endorsed in adopting a hefty school levy last fall.

For years now, most Cleveland parents sent their children to the closest neighborhood school, even if it scored an F, or academic emergency, on its state report card. Yet some of the district's best schools had plenty of room last year.

That must not happen this year. Both Jackson and Gordon are pushing parents to find the best place for their youngsters before the school year begins Aug. 19.

School choice is also critically important for youngsters who live in neighborhoods, such as Central and Fairfax, which have few excellent public schools -- a deplorable situation that the district is trying hard to rectify.

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Transportation could be a major obstacle for youngsters whose parents don't have a car or money for bus fare. Gordon says the district is trying to find ways to get more students to top-ranked schools.

If youngsters don't have an effective school near them, the least the district can do is to help them find a way to get to one.

Help available

To learn more about Cleveland's outstanding schools and how to sign children up, call United Way's 2-1-1 line or go to