CHICAGO -- Starting today, Americans in more than 40 states will attend special events commemorating the first-ever National School Choice Week, January 23-29, 2011. In an unprecedented coordination of resources and effort, more than 150 organizations have teamed to plan 120 events across the country to sound the alarm for immediate education reform and to celebrate the benefits of enhanced educational options for children.
Tens of thousands of Americans are expected to participate in the events, which will include everything from 1,000-person rallies, to education reform film screenings, to old-fashioned town hall meetings about educational quality, to house parties. Participants include a unique and diverse coalition of groups and individuals representing all political parties and every demographic slice of American life.
In addition to support from a diverse array of high-profile individuals—from Speaker of the House John Boehner to Bill Cosby to Senator Joe Lieberman and singer Jon Secada—the governors of nine states have officially commemorated National School Choice Week with special proclamations.
National school choice week participants are united in their belief that America must provide immediate options to parents whose children are often trapped in failing conventional public schools. Despite record and unprecedented spending, America's education system ranks 35th in the world in key subjects, including literacy and math. More than one million American children drop out of school every year, yielding an almost $1 billion drain from America's economy.
Supporters of National School Choice Week believe that parents should be provided with immediate solutions, including access to better public schools, charter schools, private schools, virtual schools, and homeschooling.
"Participants aren't just starting a dialogue about the need for school choice and better options for parents—they're demanding immediate change in their own communities this week, and they want lawmakers and opinion leaders to listen and to act," said Kyle Olson, executive director of National School Choice Week. "We anticipate that the impact of National School Choice Week will be realized not just this week—but for months and years to come."