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National School Choice Week

classroomDid you know this week was National School Choice Week?

School choice advocates want children out of failing schools and into schools that provide a quality education. Anyone who cares that children from low-income families are basically trapped in these schools can help raise awareness. In fact, supporters should do what they can to raise awareness every week.

“The quality of education should not be determined on what is in the bank accounts of parents,” Black Association for Educational Options (BAEO) member Mark Overall said.

BAEO chair and co-founder Howard Fuller said, “What we have here today is a new generation of children that are trying to lead in Alabama and trying to make the point that low-income parents in Alabama need more options so that they can get the best education for their children.”

So, what do you need to know about school choice? Forbes’ Maureen Sullivan lists nine items. An excerpt (emphases added):

2. More than 100,000 students use vouchers to attend private schools, according to the Center for Education Reform. Tax-credit funded scholarship programs are available in 14 states and the District of Columbia and help pay tuition for about 190,000 student.

5. There are eight states that still don’t allow charter schools: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Vermont, West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky. Mississippi and Washington have recently changed their laws to allow charters and many are in the pipeline. Change may be coming to Nebraska, where Republican Governor Pete Ricketts, who favors charters and vouchers, in November beat a Democrat opponent who was against them.

7. Charter schools are getting better results. A study of Texas charters issued last month by the Cato Institute says the improvement is due to three changes: the least-effective schools are the ones most likely to close, the schools that open out-perform those that close, and the schools that remained open during the 2001-11 period got better. The Evolution of Charter School Quality notes that as the sector matures, there’s less student turnover and students become more selective in picking their schools. “As schools improved, more successful charter school management organizations expanded and many less effective schools left the market,” according to the report.

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