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Celebrate school choice rights Monday

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 25, 2016) - You send your child off to school in the morning, hoping they'll learn and be happy in their classroom.

Parents in Indiana have options when it comes to their child's education. That freedom is being celebrated Monday morning at the Statehouse.

Indiana is now a national leader in school choice rights, nearly five years after Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program was put into action.

“The oldest, and still most common way parents exercise school choice is to move to a district where they want their kids to go to school," said Erin Sweitzer, Communications Director for the Institute for Quality Education. "But not all families have that option. Opportunities really started to expand in 2001 when Rep. Greg Porter sponsored the state’s first charter school law. Later in 2009, the tax credit scholarship program was implemented for low-income families. Options expanded even more in 2011 with Indiana’s school voucher program, or Choice Scholarship Program.”

IQE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting quality education policies in Indiana.

"We have 33,000 families participating in our school voucher program and that currently puts us at the largest voucher program in the nation," said Sweitzer. "And so that’s just one example of Hoosier parents demanding school choice options and utilizing their options to say, hey, my zip code doesn't confine me, I want to choose a school that best meets the needs of my children."

IQE is hosting the celebration as part of National School Choice Week at 10 a.m. in the north atrium of the Statehouse. Everyone is welcome.

More than 1,000 students, parents, teachers and community leaders will be there.

You can talk with policymakers and meet award-winning journalist Campbell Brown.

Keynote speeches start at noon.

"School choice isn't just about private schools and voucher schools, it’s also about traditional public schools," said Sweitzer. "We have thousands of students every year who transfer from one traditional public school to another. So it really doesn't matter what the school type is, it’s about parents being able to exercise a right to choose what school, no matter the type, is best for their child."

IQE has an Opportunity Calculator where you can see the options in your area and if you're eligible for a voucher or scholarship. This video explains how it works.

National School Choice Week will be America’s largest-ever celebration of opportunity in education, with more than 16,000 events being held across the country.

Meanwhile, new data released from The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, and conducted by Braun Research, Inc., shows nearly 70 percent of those surveyed favor the Choice Scholarship Program with only 26 percent opposing it. The data also shows most Hoosiers have a negative view of Indiana’s K-12 public education system. The poll found that 54 percent believe public education in the state is on the “wrong track.”