January 26-February 1st has been National School Choice Week. Several local organizations have participated in events to promote the organizations political stance on school choice. The organization's website states that it is " a nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort." While the organization makes that claim a closer look at its funders and partners reflect a different story. One such partner is the Walton Family Foundation. That foundation's website states that its major goal is "shaping public policy." What is missing in the campaign for school choice is a more full disclosure that explains school choice, thereby giving the public and the schools that support it an opportunity to choose whether or not they agree with the public policy of school choice.
The sound byte sounds glamorous. Of course we all want the best education possible for our children. Does school choice mean that at some point in time, public schools will be privatized and big business such as Walmart will control the information taught our students? Currently parents have school choice. As voters we elect school boards and legislators to determine how and what are students are taught. Will we lose that ability when school choice is fully implemented? That remains an unanswered question and is the biggest contention of public school advocates today such as Diane Ravitch. Recently a Washington Post article called Ms. Ravitch "our best living historian of education". Her new book, "Reign of Error, the Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools", warns the public while proposing that charter schools are not operated by for profit organizations and are required to collaborate with public schools.
While this highly political and partisan debate continues to take place, organizations such "National School Choice Week", are involving local educators and public policy advocates to promote the idea of school choice. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area several events have taken place, such as:
Mayor Price, of Ft. Worth proclaiming the week to be National School Choice Week
Texas Charter Schools Cheer for School Choice at the January 31st Mavericks Game
Premier High Schools Hamburger and Hot Dog Events
Harmony Science Academy of Fort Worth spotlighted education options throughout the week
Winfree Academy Charter Schools featured open-houses at its six locations