The education reform community stood together this week to support school choice at thousands of events across the country. Held every January, National School Choice Week “shines a positive spotlight on effective education options for every child” according to the event’s website. What started in 2011 has grown into what organizers call the world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education. This year President Trump also issued an official proclamation, recognizing Jan. 22-28, 2017 as National School Choice Week. The nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort showcases all types of education options for children including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.
This year’s National School Choice Week featured 21,392 total events across all 50 states, including:
- 16,777 schools of all types holding events
- 2,159 homeschool groups holding events
- 1,258 chambers of commerce holding events
- More than 600 governors, mayors, and county leaders issuing School Choice Week proclamations
- Rallies and special events held at 25 state capitol buildings
We caught up with some PIE Network advocates taking part in events in their communities:
A for Arizona Shares Choice Options at State Capitol
A for Arizona hosted a luncheon at the state capitol on Thursday, Jan. 26 for a crowd of 250. The luncheon included information booths organized by school leaders, students, school board members, and staff from Arizona’s highest performing schools that primarily serve low-income families. The schools represented rural, urban, and suburban regions from across the state with a variety of magnet, traditional district, and charter models—all serving at least 60 percent free and reduced-meals student populations.
“There has never been a time like the present in Arizona, where we have hundreds of innovative school leaders pushing Arizona into the top tiers of academic achievement and most especially creating community schools that honor the talents and needs of students and their families,” said A for Arizona’s Executive Director, Lisa Graham Keegan. “I am so proud of these school teams.”
Colorado Succeeds Rallies with Partners
PIE Network member Colorado Succeeds joined forces with other education advocates in the state to celebrate National School Choice Week by hosting a luncheon and rally with students, parents, teachers, and community leaders.
“National School Choice Week is an opportunity for so many organizations that care deeply about children’s futures to come together for an inclusive and positive day of celebration,” said Shannon Nicholas, director of communications and programs at Colorado Succeeds.
This event is one of 522 events that happened across Colorado throughout the week.
Educate Nebraska Organizes Rally at State Capitol
Educate Nebraska, a new member of the PIE Network, was a leading organizer for a major rally at the state capitol with nearly 1,500 Nebraskans and Gov. Pete Ricketts showing support for high-quality school choice options in the state. The rally is one of 134 events happening across Nebraska.
Educate Nebraska’s Executive Director Kate Linehan says celebrations this week came at an ideal time: “National School Choice Week coincides with an exciting time in Nebraska when expanding educational options for children is at the forefront of many policy discussions due in part to the recent introduction of multiple school choice bills in the Nebraska Legislature. The celebration shines a light on the many benefits school choice provides the children and families.”
Mississippi Coalition Joins Forces to Promote School Choice
Mississippi First Director of Communications and Operations Mackenzie Stroh Hines described their ongoing commitment to school choice, “Participating in National School Choice Week helps Mississippi First continue to frame the school choice discussion around the values we believe are important in any education policy discussion–a commitment to educational excellence, equity, transparency, and accountability.”
Parent Advocates Join Virtual Town Hall in New York
PIE Network member Families for Excellent Schools hosted a Town Hall Conference Call with two parent advocates. These parent advocates recently joined hundreds of parents who met with their legislative leaders during a Families for Excellent Schools-led gathering in Albany, New York. The parent group asked their leaders to support equal opportunity for all public school students by doubling New York city charter enrollment to 200,000 by 2020.
The Town Hall Conference Call this week was also part of Families for Excellent Schools’ ongoing pro-charter campaign called #PathtoPossible. To learn more about #PathtoPossible click here.
You can view additional details on school choice events on the National School Choice website and social media. If you are looking to connect with any of the advocates featured, please don’t hesitate to reach out.