“National School Choice Week” kicks off in Phoenix today, with an array of activities designed to make “choice” seem lively, fun, and, well, something you can snap your fingers and tap your feet to.
Tonight, The Jonas Brothers are performing at a private event to which 7,000 parents, teachers, educators and leaders have been invited.
A flash dance training video is posted on the National School Choice Week website, so organizers of school choice events across the country can incorporate rhythm and motion into their activities.
And, a coast-to-coast 14-stop whistle-stop train tour is starting today in Los Angeles, bringing “a message of hope and optimism” to people across the country. The tour will wind up in New York City on Feb. 2. Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, will be speaking at stops on the tour, and his message will be beamed into the Phoenix kickoff ceremonies.
Even the mission has music in it, as the website announces: “The point of National School Choice Week is to provide a concentrated focus for our mission—effective education options for every child—a time for the media and the public to hear our resounding message and a time to bring new voices to the chorus.”
“School Choice advocates and organizations, grassroots networks, parents and students are preparing to handle this week of focused attention in their own regions in their own way,” according to the organization’s website. Rallies, a documentary screening, and writing letters to the editor are ways the group hopes to advance its message.
Not everyone is enthusiastic about this week devoted to individual educational choice. Last year, Salon published “The Ugly Truth about School Choice,” questioning the event’s supporters and the choice movement itself. Anti-school-choice advocates say the choice movement creates a “two-tier” system of education: “choice” for those who know enough about how to exercise their educational options, and “no choice” for those who are not savvy about making such a move, and are likely to be left behind. They are also concerned that “choice” siphons funding from existing public schools to start schools that serve select, small populations—decimating budgets at existing schools that could use more funding to improve.
If you are curious to learn more about how the choice movement is promoting itself, check out one of the 3,500 events planned by visiting this map.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.