Adam Lindsay, Jr. hits the alarm early on a cold winter’s morning signaling time to get ready for school in Philadelphia, PA. Still a bit lethargic, the little 8-year old gropes for a robe and stumbles to brush his teeth. A struggle, perhaps but not nearly as challenging as it could be as he prepares for life’s financial and social challenges which adulthood offers. He is one of the fortunate young African-Americans in elementary school whose mother has had the opportunity to select which school he attends; giving him what she hopes will be a better future than that proposed of another school albeit closer in proximity. But not everyone, particularly African-Americans, has such a choice hence the advent of National School Choice Week taking place until January 29, 2011. The variety of school reform agents behind this effort argues that school choice provides nothing less than an educational lifeline to low-income families and is thus, extremely vital. A powerful, growing movement in the United States, National School Choice Week has the support of several notables including entertainer and education advocate Dr. Bill Cosby who is urging families across the nation to get involved arguing that more parents would demand educational choice if they understood the correlations between higher quality education and jobs offered.
“I’ve seen the people at 4 o’clock in the morning waiting, hoping that they would win a seat for their child in a better school. This is not fair. Parents deserve more choices,” said Dr. Bill Cosby. Increased access to better schools — including private schools, public charter schools, virtual schooling, and homeschooling — are a key part of the week’s focus. Designed to educate the American public about the broad coalition of people who believe that our nation has a moral obligation to make sure that every single child in this country has access to the very best education possible, National School Choice Week is the brainchild of school choice advocates and organizations, grassroots networks and parents. Some people may hold a rally, some may screen a school choice documentary, some may write a “Letter to the Editor” and some may engage with the media.
“National School Choice Week was an effort my several state and national organizations that wanted to make a concerted effort towards advancing the cause of school choice. It has since grown to over 195 organizations participating in their own way in the week,” explains Kyle Olson, Executive Director of National School Choice Week. “Those organizations are holding town hall meetings, rallies, open houses and other events to engage Americans in the effort to expand school choice. We are raising awareness about the need for school choice and educating Americans on what state leaders are doing to expand school choice for more kids. With the growing awareness that far too many traditional public schools are failing far too many kids, as well as the unprecedented financial state of many schools and states, leaders are coming to the conclusion that school choice – providing parents with options and ways out of the schools they’re assigned to because of their zip code – will be an immense help.
Even new Speaker of the House John Boehner is in full support of the Week and is included in featured video on the movement site. With quality education becoming more and more of a hot-button issue in our country, this may be just one in a series of important collective movements. For complete details, ways to get involved, a list of events and resources; please visit http://schoolchoiceweek.
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