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Texas shines spotlight on school choice

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Texans for Education Opportunity Executive Director Randan Steinhauser, also an adviser for National School Choice Week, speaks during a school choice rally at the Texas Capitol in 2015.

National School Choice Week begins today in Texas and across the country. There are 1593 events planned in the Lone Star State to raise awareness about K-12 school choice, and 21,392 events nationwide.

The events in Texas, which are independently planned and independently funded, include everything from information sessions and open houses at schools to rallies, policy discussions, and movie screenings organized by community groups. Highlighted events include a large rally for school choice January 24 at 10 a.m. at the state capitol building in Austin, south steps.

National School Choice Week provides families in Texas with the opportunity to research and evaluate the K-12 school choices available for their children in advance of the 2017-2018 school year. The Week also raises awareness of the importance of providing every child with effective education options.

“I intend to fight for school choice session after session after session,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, addressing a Dallas Regional Chamber luncheon on Oct. 20, 2016. “And it’s not going to hurt public schools. It’s going to make them better.”

“We are grateful that so many Texas families are working alongside teachers, community leaders, and elected officials to celebrate opportunity in education during National School Choice Week 2017,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “This week represents the largest series of education-related events in Texas history.”

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, a charter school advocacy group, there were an estimated 723 total charter schools in Texas in the 2015-2016 school year. These schools enrolled approximately 282,900 students.

In Texas, there were 312,640 students enrolled in 1,740 private schools in fall 2013, accounting for roughly 6.13 percent of the state’s total school-age population.

Texans for Education Opportunity, which launched in May, supports all forms of “school choice,” including charters and traditional public schools, said Executive Director Randan Steinhauser, an Austin-based school choice activist and public relations consultant who co-founded the nonprofit advocacy organization.

But she said the group’s main goal is to get Texas lawmakers to create “education savings accounts” — a program under which the state would dole out taxpayer money directly to parents via debit card to cover approved education-related expenses, like private school tuition, tutors or homeschooling materials.

“This annual event is a reminder to our legislators that parents in Texas want more education freedom,” said event organizer and Texans for Education Opportunity Executive Director Randan Steinhauser. “The demand for more school choice is widespread and it’s time for Texas to join the growing number of states that allow parents the opportunity to choose their child’s education.”

With a goal of raising public awareness of effective education options for children, National School Choice Week will be the largest celebration of education options in U.S. history.

Some of the information in the article courtesy of The Texas Tribune.

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  • Will

    Call it what is – a scheme to defund public education in favor of private school vouchers. This does not address the need for better public education, only creating a industry to utilize public tax money for private benefit. If you think about the issue of education for profit (i.e. University of Phoenix, Everest College, etc.) you open the door for abuse. Keep in mind that there is very little accountability or oversight in this industry right now. I’m not saying good private schools are a poor alternative, on the contrary. Be smart, know the agenda of your education provider.

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