January 29, 2013

Millions of American children are denied the opportunity to pursue their dreams because they are forced to attend failing schools. The result is heartbreaking: Only about one-third of America’s eighth graders are proficient in reading or math. Only 13 percent of high school seniors are proficient in American history. One child drops out of school every 26 seconds.

But a nationwide whistle-stop train tour aimed to raise awareness about the need to improve education through one simple but powerful option for parents and students: school choice.

“Just as whistle-stop tours were used to promote civil rights like women’s suffrage and the end of racial segregation, the National School Choice Week ‘Special’ drew attention to the great civil rights fight of the 21st century: school choice for all Americans regardless of their race, income, zip code or learning ability,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. The Institute for Justice has teamed up as a partner in the effort to promote school choice nationwide through activism and media relations.

Throughout the tour, thousands of concerned citizens were expected to rally at special events that featured speeches by students who are succeeding in school choice programs, parents, national education reform leaders and elected officials. The tour included major events from Los Angeles to New York City with a dozen stops in between.

Beyond the whistle-stop tour, National School Choice Week 2013 featured more than 3,500 events organized by students, parents and community leaders across all 50 states. The Week focused on six educational choices designed to help children secure the education that is right for them. Those choices include: high-performing traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, digital learning and home schooling.

“These are the kinds of educational options we want for all children,” Campanella said.

“School choice helped open the door to a brighter future for my son, Gabriel,” said Valerie Evans, a mom from New Orleans, who is represented by IJ in her fight for school choice. “Louisiana’s Act 2 school choice program is a lifesaver for my child and ensures he will be in a safe environment first and foremost. It means he can now be educated in an environment that is not only safe, but he will also get the education he needs and deserves. Without a quality education from grade school, he won’t have the foundation he needs to get into college, graduate and be a success.”

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