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Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

School Choice Movement Pushes Agenda


 Ask any teacher, superintendent, or government official about it and many would say education funding is in need of some serious change. Local districts are struggling to make ends meet as state and federal appropriations drop - and that means layoffs, school closures, and even shortening the school day in some cases. Some education reform activists say the answer to fixing this problem and others within the system is something called "school choice."

It's a growing movement that says kids should have the chance to leave the public school in their district if it's not performing well enough. Other options include attending private schools with the use of vouchers, homeschooling, and attending charter schools. It's a contentious subject and some say school choice results in better education only for the kids lucky enough to get into superior schools. Lisa Graham Keegan is the former superintendent of public instruction for Arizona and is a Senior Advisor to National School Choice Week, which is January 26th - February 1st. We recently spoke with her about the movement: 

More about school choice week, from a press release: "This week is School Choice Week in Illinois and across the country. More than 240 events are planned across the Prairie State, in addition to 5,500 events nationwide.

The Week, which is the nation’s largest-ever celebration of educational opportunity, gives students, parents, and teachers in Illinois a chance to raise awareness of the different types of educational options available to families in advance of the 2014-2015 school year. Events across the state will include rallies, school fairs, roundtable discussions, open houses, and parent information sessions.

National School Choice Week spotlights all types of education options for families – including traditional public schools, public magnet schools, charter schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling.

In addition to raising awareness of school choice options in Illinois, the Week also provides students, parents and teachers with an opportunity to call on leaders in Springfield to expand access to high-quality education environments for children.

'Illinois families know that when parents have the freedom to choose the best schools for their children, great things happen,' said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. 'Student achievement increases, graduation rates rise, and children are better prepared for real life.'

Said Campanella: 'We hope families across the state will use National School Choice Week as an opportunity to learn more about the educational options available to their children, and to begin researching schools for the 2014-2015 school year. If families want to switch schools, January is the time to start the search process.'

The Week officially kicked off at a major rally Saturday night in Houston, Texas. Today, students wearing National School Choice Week’s signature yellow scarves will ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange.

National School Choice Week is an independent public awareness campaign that shines a spotlight on effective education options for all children. For more information, visit www.schoolchoiceweek.com"

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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