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Commentary: 10 years of celebrating School Choice Week in Texas

Commentary: 10 years of celebrating School Choice Week in Texas

Over the past 10 years, thousands of schools, families and organizations throughout Texas have participated in National School Choice Week. This January marks an important anniversary for the effort to bring increased awareness to school choice and one that comes at a time when more families than ever are actively choosing their child’s educational environment.

Over the past 10 years, thousands of Texans have come together to rally at the Capitol in Austin, expressing support for all forms of school choice: public, private, charter, virtual, magnet and home schooling. In hundreds of towns, local community groups, chambers and individual schools have hosted their own unique celebrations during School Choice Week. For the past four years, Gov. Greg Abbott has publicly proclaimed Texas School Choice Week. This year, it runs through Saturday.

In looking back, it is amazing to see how many lives have been affected by the thousands of events that have taken place during a single week each year. Whether it’s the students who performed at School Choice Week events showcasing their love of learning, or the teachers who took time off from work to walk the halls demanding action on school choice policy, individuals from all backgrounds have been impacted. Even more encouraging are the parents who have learned about their options because of gatherings and events hosted during School Choice Week.

That’s why in celebration of National School Choice Week 2020, our coalition is hosting a series of school fairs throughout the state. From Austin to Houston, San Antonio to Dallas and down to the Rio Grande Valley, these free events will encourage families to network with other parents and learn more about the schools in their communities.

These Saturday School Fairs will provide schools the opportunity to share their mission and showcase their unique offerings to hundreds of families that might not otherwise know they exist. In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar schools, we are excited to include micro-schools, virtual schools, home-school co-ops, tutors, education therapy providers and higher-education institutions at these school fairs.

If you have heard our rallying cry over the years, then you know our message: Every child deserves access to a quality educational option that meets their individual needs. We celebrate great options where they exist and demand them where they do not.

Families in Texas deserve the right — the freedom — to choose their child’s school. Whether they prefer to stay in their neighborhood school or seek alternative options, such as private or virtual schools, we believe we have a moral obligation to empower parents with the tools and resources to advocate for their child. A ZIP code should never determine a child’s education, nor should the government dictate where a child goes to school. Only a parent should decide how their children are educated.

As we celebrate our 10th year of School Choice Week in Texas, one thing is clear: Parents want the very best education for their children, and we’ve made it our mission to help make that possible.