ICYMI: Governor Jeb Bush to keynote AFC’s annual Summit at “Time of Unprecedented Opportunity”

Governor Jeb Bush is coming and he’s coming with a strong wind of hope behind him. At the American Federation for Children’s annual National Policy Summit, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will deliver a keynote address at a unique and exciting time for school choice advocates across the country. 

Join us Monday, May 22, and Tuesday, May 23, in Indianapolis, Indiana, as Governor Bush joins in “celebrating the expansion and progress of school choice” while also rallying school choice advocates to forge ahead as we enter into a “time of unprecedented opportunity for our movement.”

Registration is open! Click here to complete step 1 of registration and secure your spot at the nation’s premier event for educational choice.  AFC has a room block open at the Indianapolis (Downtown) Westin. Click here to make your accommodation reservations at a discounted rate before May 5.

5 Really Cool Things You Can See and Do on Our New Website

AFC recently launched its shiny, new, and completely revamped website! It has so many cool bells and whistles that we thought it would be great to take our fellow advocates on a tour to see some of the cool, new tools now at your fingertips.

  1. Interactive Map

With 50 private school choice programs in 25 states plus the District of Columbia, it’s safe to say that a lot of children are getting a great education… 430,000 to be exact. But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to private school choice programs, there are also great public charter schools that are offering their students innovative and individualized classroom settings.

Now, with our new Interactive Map, you can easily and quickly find the school choice programs that are available in your state and in other states around the country. See for yourself!

  1. Success Stories

Everything we do, all the focused effort that we put in day in and day out in states across the country and Washington, D.C. all amounts to one thing: making sure that every child has access and resources to attend the school that is best for them.

In our Making a Difference section, we tell some of those stories. Be sure to read some of the personal stories of how school choice has made a difference in the lives of children who were most in need.

  1. Types of School Choice Programs

Although the idea of school choice is quite simple, understanding the programs that support a parent’s ability to select the best school for his or her child can get a little tricky. Because we understand this, we made sure that our new site made it easy for parents to not only understand the options they have but also share that information with other parents.

In the Types of School Choice Programs section, we make understanding easy by segmenting the different types of programs and giving a detailed explanation of how each one works in each applicable state. This section also includes information on Student Eligibility which outlines the requirements that need to be met to participate in the different school choice programs.

 

  1. Publications

Our team does some amazing work in several states around the country. Their work translates into hundreds of thousands of children having the opportunity to learn in an environment that works best for them. Each year, we highlight the results of this work in various materials.

In the Publications section, you will find easily accessible PDF versions of our materials which include fact sheets, legislative and election impact reports, school choice report cards, and school choice yearbooks. Use these as a resource to get a better understanding of school choice and the progress that has been made and that we continue to make.

 

  1. Take Action!

You don’t have to be a parent to advocate for school choice! There are several ways that anyone who has a passion for education can take part in ensuring children are receiving the best education possible. Through donations, by contacting your state leadership, or by keeping up with AFC news, you can do your part. Check out our Take Action section to learn more.

After Major School Choice Victory, Arizona Scholarship Recipients say, ‘Thank You’ 

Last week, school choice advocates (and those privy to the long-standing battle) experienced their very own “shot heard round the world” when the Arizona Senate and House passed SB1431, which expanded educational opportunity to every child in the state through the Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.

Because of the relentless, hard work from members of our AFC team, especially those in Arizona, every public school student in the state will be eligible to enter the ESA program, increasing the access to quality education for all students no matter their income or zip code.

In addition to members of our AFC team, many school choice advocates played an important role in the passing of such a monumental bill including Senator Debbie Lesko, who sponsored the bill, and Governor Doug Ducey, whose signature guaranteed that parents across Arizona would have the opportunity to choose the best education for their child.

For such an amazing feat, a few scholarship recipients took time to say ‘Thank you.’

For more information about Arizona’s expanded ESA program, visit: http://bit.ly/2nVffPK.

With over 150,000 Children in School Choice Programs in Ohio, the LeBron James-backed Charter School Gives Parents One More Option

Earlier this week, NBA great and future legend, LeBron James, announced that he plans to extend his already robust reach and impact on education by opening the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.

The charter school is set to open in the Fall of 2018 and will begin first with third and fourth graders then extend from first to eighth grade by 2022.

Apart from being his childhood and current home, Ohio is one of the best states James could have selected to build what I am imagining will be his first of many schools.

Ohio is one of 23 states plus the District of Columbia that allows low-income parents and parents with special needs children the right to choose where their child is educated AND, if needed, financially supports that decision through various scholarship programs.

During the 2015-2016 school year alone, more than 40,000 students in the state received a scholarship to leave their underperforming neighborhood school to attend a private school of their parent’s choice.

Charter schools in the state, like James’ I Promise School, have seen success too with an enrollment of more than 100,000 students in 2014.

When it comes to providing children with the best education possible, there can never be too many options. With the addition of the I Promise School, families in Ohio continue to win.

For more information about private school choice programs in Ohio, visit: https://www.federationforchildren.org/state/ohio/.

Gallup Poll: 59% of Americans Support School Choice

A Gallup poll released today made a not-so-secret secret, even more not-so-secret: lots of people really like and support the idea of school choice!

Even more?

The prospect of a federally-backed school choice program is also strongly supported.

Here are the numbers (and a few details).

When asked if Americans agreed or disagreed with the following statement, here’s how they answered:

This is one of the few national issues where there is net agreement, according to Gallup.

The poll also showed that both Republicans and Democrats support school choice.

While this kind of support for school choice may be a surprise for some, those who keep close watch know that this has been the case for quite some time. The results from our most recent National School Choice Poll, conducted annually, show that they were merely a precursor to today’s Gallup poll results.

For complete results from the poll, visit: http://bit.ly/2p3cMzF.

Learn more about AFC’s ideal federal school choice plan: http://bit.ly/2omqUUr.

 

 

ICYMI: Highlights from Secretary DeVos’ Speech on School Choice

This past Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made an appearance at Washington, D.C.’s Brookings Institution to discuss the recent release of Center on Children and Families’ 2016 Education Choice and Competition Index, and to, of course, tout the work that she is most passionate about: “increasing education options for parents and students,” aka school choice.

Speaking with Brookings senior fellow Grover Whitehurst, Secretary DeVos made a powerful stand for school choice and its expansion into states throughout the country.

The full video of her appearance is at the following link: http://brook.gs/2ok9x9N. You can also read her prepared remarks: bit.ly/2nHkKzH.

For highlights from her speech, keep reading!

Secretary DeVos kicked off her remarks with this straight-to-the-point statement on funding education. Like Betsy, we believe that allowing funds to follow the student empowers parents to make the best decision on where and how their child is educated.

Discussing Michael B, a veteran of Afghanistan and a current student at Orlando, Florida’s Valencia College, who faced the horrible and “dangerous” public school system of East Hartford Connecticut, Secretary DeVos drove home the need to change focus.

School choice puts the focus back on the needs of the individual child by empowering parents to select a school that works best for each child. We believe it, Secretary DeVos believes it too.

Advocates, like Secretary DeVos, understand that school choice is an immediate solution to getting students into high-quality schools. She made this clear during her speech.