SALINAS, Calif. - A large education movement is sweeping across the nation this week. It's aimed at empowering parents to choose what they think is the best school for their kids.
According to the grassroots coalition behind National School Choice Week, parents are actively choosing schools for their children more than ever before. This week, there are nearly 6,000 events being held in every state. The point is to educate parents on school choices they may not know are available to them.
Organizers behind the independently-funded events say all options for children's education are on the table and will be addressed.
Traditional public, public charter, magnet, private, online or homeschooling. There could be numerous choices when it comes to selecting a school for your child. So that's why National School Choice Week started in 2011.
"Schools of choice offer parents an opportunity to ensure that the education opportunities offered to their child are really meeting their needs," said Dr. Nancy Kotowski, superintendent for the Monterey County Office of Education.
Kotowski said it's a great way to engage parents on what they want to see funded in schools. Thousands of events this week are being held by a number of organizations, including school communities and parent advocacy groups.
"We have a system where if you don't have much money, the likelihood is you're not in a high-quality school," said Lisa Keegan, senior advisor for National School Choice Week. "The system that we need is any choice you make is going to be a great choice."
Jim Wallace, principal at Salinas Christian School, said the school choice movement could help serve children who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods. He said it would take a voucher system, like 27 other states have, to give families help to pay for private or non-traditional education through a tax credit.
"We would be able to serve a more broader audience of parents who don't have the additional funds for private schooling, but they want to choose a school that would be beneficial for their student," he said.
He said groups like the California Association of Private School Organizations are encouraging legislation that would enact a system to help those at-risk kids.
"It raises the performance level of public schools because they're working hard to bring their performance up and attract students," Wallace said.
"Public schools need to be responsive to what the parents are seeking for the education of their children," Kotowski said. "If that can be offered within the public school system, it's best to work with the school system and with the parents."
Members of the grass-roots coalition behind the movement said they're not favoring one school system over another. Rather, the movement is aimed at dedicating a week to educating parents on their options.
To view events happening this week in your area and to learn more about National School Choice Week, visit http://schoolchoiceweek.com/.