National School Choice Week Sets Participation Record in 2016
This week, millions of teachers, students, parents and community leaders are coming together to promote and celebrate the merits of school choice.
National School Choice Week aims to focus attention and inform parents about the variety of school choice options available to families looking for alternatives to the traditional public education model. Over 200 mayors and 32 governors have proclaimed local and statewide School Choice Week, including two presidential candidates, Governor John Kasich (R-OH) and Governor Christ Christie(R-NJ), who said:
“I believe it’s our moral obligation to ensure that every child in New Jersey has the right to a quality education regardless of his or her zip code…School choice empowers families to make important decisions regarding the education of their children. When these educational options abound, it’s our children who truly benefit.”
This year, National School Choice Week has 16,140 events planned for this week, over 5,000 more than last year and a new record for the program. Parents, teachers, advocates, educators and students proudly showed off their yellow school choice scarves or performed the School Choice Week dance all over the country, and events have been scheduled in every state.
To highlight a just a few:
- Nevada: Hundreds of school choice supporters attended a rally at the Las Vegas Cashman Center to celebrate school choice. Speakers at the rally represented all types of schools, including online, public and charter schools. Although Nevada has made great strides in the past few years in expanding its ESA program, a recent court ruling threatens to halt the program. This rally aims to show lawmakers that school choice is here to stay.
- Massachusetts: On January 27, AEI on campus and the ISI Newman Society will host a screening of The Cartel at the Gordon College Cinema Room. The Cartel is a story about parents and students struggling against powerful, self-interested parties to access the education they deserve. The filmmakers follow the money the state spends on a single classroom in New Jersey, and conclude that taxpayer funds are squandered by various special interests, while students in the state still struggle with basic math and reading.
- Illinois: On January 30, the Heartland Institute is hosting a free, open-to-the-public forum on education choice. Five experts on education and education policy will address three questions relevant for parents and educators, “What is education choice? What education options are currently available? Does education choice work?” The event will be livestreamed for those who do not live in the Chicago area.
These are only a sample of the events being hosted all across the country this week. There were also education fairs, roundtable discussions and rallies in several state capitals. The outpouring of support shows that the movement for school choice is becoming stronger every day across the states. If 2015 was “the year of educational choice,” 2016 is shaping up to give it a run for its money!