National School Choice Week
National School Choice Week was founded in 2011 to promote the concept of all forms of school choice: district schools, district magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, and home schooling. The week of events is scheduled the last week of January each year. As an organization it does not promote one form of educational choice over another, but rather contends that parents should have and make choices in the best interest of their children.
The week consists of independently organized events, both large and small, in schools, state capitols, and other public meetings featuring the movement's signature yellow scarves. Additionally there are several national signature events and press opportunities. In 2011 there were approximately 150 events in over 30 states. Each year the participation has more than doubled. In 2014 nearly 6,000 events held in every state had a media contact with over 100 million households in the United States. In 2015, 11,082 events were held.
A number of notable and varied participants have spearheaded these events. Former WNBA basketball player Lisa Leslie teamed with Rep. Eric Cantor for a January 2014 event at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School in Washington, D.C. KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg gave an introductory speech at the 2014 National School Choice Week kick-off in Houston. In 2013, the Jonas Brothers kicked off National School Choice Week with a concert in Phoenix.
Highlighting the non-judgmental, non-partisan nature of the organization, the 2014 kick-off event paired conservative Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic stalwart Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee on the same stage. According to Cruz, "School choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st Century." In 2015, National School Choice Week opened with a nationally televised event in Jacksonville, Florida, featuring speeches NFL star Desmond Howard, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi, and a video greeting by US Senator Marco Rubio.
Governors and mayors across the country have issued resolutions and proclamations in support of the movement. The list of governors includes Bobby Jindal, John Hickenlooper, Scott Walker, and Martin O'Malley. Well-known mayors such as Marty Walsh and Kevin Johnson have also voiced their support. In 2015, the US Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution recognizing School Choice Week across the country.
The President of National School Choice Week is Andrew Campanella. On January 26, 2017, United States president Donald Trump made a Presidential proclamation stating that National School Choice Week, 2017 started on that day.
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