The school choice advocacy world this week will crank up its nationwide public-relations/public awareness campaign meant to bring positive attention to the full range of educational choice. Supporters of choice—many of them sporting neon-yellow scarves—will rally in more than 50 cities this week as part of the 8th annual National School Choice Week.
Organizers project that an estimated 6.7 million people are expected to participate this year in more than 32,000 events from open houses at schools to pep rallies at statehouses—that’s more than double the number of events that took place just two years ago.
National School Choice Week organizers encourage lots of groups—charter and private schools, homeschooling families, and local chambers of commerce among them—to host events and flood social media with photos and videos. National organizers provide support on event planning and kits full of swag, including those aforementioned scarves.
And, for the truly committed, organizers even choreograph an annual dance for participants to learn.
The aim of National School Choice Week is to highlight and advocate for school choice in all its flavors: traditional public schools, private schools, charter schools, magnet schools, religious schools, online schools, and home-based schools.
As part of that goal, almost all of the major school choice advocacy groups have partnered this year to host a national video contest that will award $25,000 to the students with the most compelling school choice success stories. Winners were announced today.
And this year marks the first time that a sitting U.S. Secretary of Education spoke at the annual National School Choice Week rally on Capitol Hill in Washington. In her remarks at the rally last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged participants, which included children from local private and charter schools, to advocate for school choice.
“I hope you will go out from here and you will tell your story and you will encourage others who haven’t yet joined us to do so because for every student here there are dozens more who haven’t been able to make these choices,” said DeVos.
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Photo: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, greets students, parents and educators at a National School Choice rally on Jan. 18 in Washington. —Maria Danilova/AP
A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.