Public support is building across the nation for the first-ever National School Choice Week, January 23 through January 29, a grassroots effort featuring a broad coalition of more than 40 groups and schools, including the Foundation for Educational Choice, New Jersey’s Rainbow Academy, the Georgia Parent Advocacy Network, and the Children’s Scholarship Fund.
A growing list of prominent school choice advocates are “in” for the week-long event, including past and present elected leaders such as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), ex-Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).
State Reforms Spotlighted
National and state organizations will host dozens of events throughout the country in January.
“I’m getting involved in national school choice week because in Arkansas 40 percent of the schools fail to meet academic standards,” said Teresa Crossland-Oelke, state director for Arkansas Americans for Prosperity. “It’s important for citizens to engage in the issue of education because it has such a great impact on our future ability as a thriving economy. Looking at what has worked as far as innovations such as charter schools and school choice is very important.”
Crossland-Oelke is working with National School Choice Week on coordinating 11 town hall events across the country with speakers such as Dick Morris, Wall Street Journal editorialist Steven Moore, and radio talk show hosts Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt.
“We strongly support National School Choice Week,” said Lance Izumi, director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute (PRI).
“Unless all parents are given vouchers, tuition tax credits, or other tools to choose the public or private schools that best meet the needs of their children, which will then promote the competition that will force the government-run system to improve, there will be little real and meaningful change in the status quo,” Izumi explained. “PRI will be an active voice during the week, promoting the need for school choice in California and throughout America.”
“Everyone agrees that public education in America is desperately in need of innovative reform,” said Christina Walsh, director of activism and coalitions for the Institute for Justice. “National School Choice Week provides parents, teachers, and advocates from across the country and the political spectrum with a unique and much-needed opportunity to unite and fight for the solution to this crisis: choice.”
School, Budget Reforms Linked
“Excellent Education for Everyone has always believed that school choice is an essential condition for change in American public education,” said Derrell Bradford, executive director of E3 in New Jersey.
“Now, though, that belief is amplified by both the urgency of global competition and the acute nature of the country’s financial crisis. National School Choice Week will make sure every incoming legislator knows that, from a policy and a financial standpoint, school choice is a critical component to getting America back on the right track,” Bradford said.
Lindsey Burke ([email protected]) is an education policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.
National School Choice Week Web site: http://www.SchoolChoiceWeek.com
. . . on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/School-Choice-Week/
. . . on Twitter: @schoolchoicewk