National School Choice Week has grown from 150 events and activities in its beginning in 2011 to a record 32,240 this year, NSCW President Andrew Campanella told The Washington Free Beacon on Monday.
Campanella said the growth in the NSCW is due to "enthusiasm" by schools, community organizations, home school groups, and others that recognize the benefits of school choice and want to "promote what makes them unique and what benefits their communities."
He added that more American children than ever before "are learning in an environment specifically chosen by their parents."
A new poll conducted by Beck Research for the American Federation of Children shows that 70 percent of Americans back the concept of school choice and 75 percent support public charter schools.
Federation for Children National Communications Director Tommy Schultz criticized teachers' unions for opposing the idea, telling the Free Beacon that "Throughout the past year, the teachers' unions have spent untold millions of dollars attacking the notion that students should be at the center of the discussion around education reform. Frankly, they wasted almost all of the money that they took from their dues-paying members."
He added that "National School Choice Week is the perfect opportunity to remind those in power that Americans simply want the freedom to choose the best school for their child, so that everyone — not just those who can afford it — can have access to a great quality education."
This year also marks the first time that a sitting U.S. Secretary of Education spoke at the annual National School Choice Week rally on Capital Hill, according to Education Week.
In her remarks at the rally last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos encouraged those attending, which included pupils from local private and charter schools, to advocate for school choice.
However, Network for Public Education founder Phyllis Bush outlined the common objections to school choice, writing in The Journal Gazette that it creates two separate school systems, one "for those who can afford quality choices" while the other "an underfunded, separate-but-unequal road" institution.
In addition, she wrote, "public schools are required to accept all students, while 'choice schools' have the option of choosing the students who fit their agenda and reject the more difficult students."
The vouchers for school choice also "drain state tax dollars from the entire education funding pot," Bush insisted, often causing "district budgeting deficits and/or the need for tax increases, referenda and the like. That loss of revenue to public schools increases class sizes and diminishes student resources such as counselors, support personnel, supplemental materials and buses."
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