"School choice" is a hot educational topic and also a phrase with various meanings.
On one level, choice is the commonsense concept of offering educational options - families should not be trapped in a neighborhood school that is not meeting their needs.
On another level "school choice" is a controversial political agenda - a code word for school vouchers or other measures which offer government funding to help families pay for tuition at private or church-run schools.
Latoya Shuler's only complaint about her experience at Lincoln High School was the travel time.
Most mornings, she was out the door of her West Oak Lane home at 5:30 a.m. in order to catch the three buses that would get her to Lincoln by the time her 7 am "zero" period started.
One of thousands of Philadelphia high school students, most of them African American, who travel to comprehensive high schools outside of their neighborhood, Shuler said the early mornings and long SEPTA trips were worth the effort.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the Philadelphia School District is now required to offer the option of transferring into a higher-scoring school to all students enrolled at 196 of the schools that the state has labeled "needing improvement."
But in a district where few schools - public or charter - meet or exceed state standards, not many thriving alternatives really exist.
For the thousands of families who remain in these schools deemed "needing improvement," here are five things to consider.