Parents, children, and educators rallied at events across the nation to celebrate the progress made over the past five years in the school choice movement and to promote pro-liberty school reform and parent empowerment.
National School Choice Week (NSCW), a nationwide week of events first held in 2011 to help raise public awareness of all types of educational options for children, was commemorated with 16,400 events in all 50 states. NSCW events and rallies were held in 13,224 schools, and 20 special events were organized at state capitol buildings.
An estimated 1,012 local and state chambers of commerce and 808 homeschooling groups held affiliated events, and the governors of 27 states and more than 200 local lawmakers issued proclamations recognizing the week-long celebration of educational choice.
Susan Meyers, national media relations director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, says National School Choice Week celebrates freedom and empowerment for parents and families.
Celebrating More Choices
“National School Choice Week has been going on for about five years now,” Meyers said. “It’s an event that happens in the last week of January, and it’s a way for parents, students, policymakers, and advocates to celebrate school choice and the progress we’ve made in school choice since 1955, when Milton Friedman came up with the vision of giving all children the opportunity to pick an educational setting that works right for them.”
Meyers says the week-long event is about celebrating parents’ power to choose.
“School Choice Week is just to highlight and celebrate any choice that a parent of a child chooses to exercise,” Meyers said. “If they decide to educate their child at home by homeschooling them, or if they decide to send them to a public school, or to a charter school, or an online academy, … it’s whatever works for their child.”
‘A Huge Deal’
Lennie Jarratt, project manager for education transformation at The Heartland Institute, says National School Choice Week has become very popular with parents and educators.
“It’s a huge deal,” Jarratt said. “During this year’s National School Choice Week, a few of the scheduled events were actually held overseas. They’ve expanded. It’s not just in the United States anymore.”
Jarratt says the range of educational options available to parents is not as daunting as it may seem at first.
“Parents know their child, so they think about what their child needs, and then when they’re searching, they find the option that best suits their child,” Jarratt said. “It may be something different for each of their children, but parents understand best how their child learns.
“When finding options, that’s your starting point: What do your children need?” Jarratt said.
Jesse Hathaway ([email protected]) is managing editor of Budget & Tax News.