National School of Choice Week underway

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Hundreds of education events are planned across the state and the country as National School of Choice week is underway.

The week is dedicated to celebrating options, whether it’s public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online academies or home schooling.

On Tuesday, Indiana Representative Luke Messer (R-IN) will join other leaders from around the country to host a national school choice rally in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday was also the original date for a U.S. senate committee to vote on the nomination of Betsey DeVos as Secretary of Education, but that vote has now been moved to next Tuesday, January 31st. National SOC organizers say DeVos is known for being a School of Choice supporter. As the debate continues about whether DeVos is the right pick, other conversations continue about possible changes now that republicans are leading both the statehouse and now the White House.

“You do have a republican presidency and that will be different, I think you will hear a lot more about school of choice, that’s something that, generally speaking, the party has been in support of, but the democrats still play a large role in this policy so we expect to see a lot of negotiations and compromise,” said Dr. Laura Albright, University of Indianapolis Political Science Professor.

Throughout the week, thousands of school of choice events are planned with more than 140 registered events planned in Indianapolis alone. National SOC organizers say Indiana is actually ahead of the movement in some ways when it comes to education options.

“Indiana actually has quite a few options, especially compared to some other states across the country, not only is there open enrollment available in some public schools across the state, parents can also go to charter schools, magnet, online academies and use tax credits or private scholarships for a variety of private school options,” said Shelby Doyle, Director of Communications and External Relations for School of Choice Week

“A lot of recent movement has been other states catching up to where Indiana is, so private school choice is an area where Indiana has made some serious strides,” Doyle said.

“One area where Indiana doesn’t have full school choice is open enrollment in traditional public schools, there are some states like Florida where open enrollment is available in every district across the state regardless of where you’re zoned for, you can go to any public school in the state if you can get your child there, so Indiana has some open enrollment available but it’s not universally available,” Doyle said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of pre-k advocates from around the state are expected to gather for a rally at the statehouse to showcase the bi-partisan support behind Indiana’s pre-k pilot program. That’s happening from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on 3rd Floor South between House and Senate Chambers.

Many other education events are planned throughout the week. For more information, click here.

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