Charter School Joins Advocates Across the Country for National School Choice Week

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Local Charter school, The Learning Center!, joined 2.9 million charter school students nationwide last week in support of National School Choice Week.

Held every January, National School Choice Week focuses on increasing public awareness and empowering parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environments for their children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.

The Learning Center! celebrated National School Choice Week on January 22-28, with an on-campus campaign of awareness that included increased social media presence, placing posters around the school, and distributing bright yellow School Choice Week scarves and stickers. “This campaign has sparked many questions about National School Choice week,” said school director, Mary Jo Dyre. “School choice is the movement that offers charter schools as a viable option in education. We are a North Carolina Public School Choice opportunity for education and parents who are seeking a choice for their students’ academic needs have said YES to choosing our school.”

The Learning Center! is among many school choice advocates paying close attention to the annual event. “With more than 21,392 events across the nation in 2017, National School Choice Week is now the world’s largest annual education-related celebration,” said Dana Bolyard, Social Media Director and Charter School Advocate for The Learning Center. “And with School Choice, more parents have the opportunity to choose motivating, challenging, and effective educational environments for their children than ever before.” The school was awarded a School Choice Leadership award last week in recognition of its dedication to providing all children with access to effective education options and it’s participation in the 2017 National School Choice Week.

Started in 2011, National School Choice Week is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort. Advocates for school choice believe that education is not “one size fits all” because not all children learn the same and therefore every child, and their parents, should have the opportunity to choose the best education to suit their needs.

The Learning Center! was one of the first of 34 charter schools to open its doors in 1997 when charter legislation was passed in North Carolina.

Local Charter School supports largest ever National School Choice Week

Local Charter school, The Learning Center!, will join millions of Americans in support of the nation’s largest-ever celebration of education reform. The fourth-annualNational School Choice Week, begins next week on January 26th through February 1 and will include an unprecedented 5,500 events across all 50 states. The goal is to increase public awareness on the importance of empowering parents with the freedom to choose the best educational environments for their children.

The Learning Center! Charter School will be among the many school choice advocates paying close attention to the event. “A national event like National School Choice Week shines a spotlight on the need for quality choice in education.” said Dana Bolyard, Social Media Director & Charter Advocate for The Learning Center.

Advocates for school choice believe that education is not “one size fits all” because not all children learn the same and therefore every child, and their parents, should have the opportunity to choose the best education to suit their needs. Supporters plan events that highlight a variety of school choice options — from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.

Organizers said that National School Choice Week also provides a platform for families to demand greater educational options for their children in areas that don’t provide enough educational choices to families.

National School Choice Week will be nonpartisan and nonpolitical. In addition to independently-planned events, the Week will feature a cross-country “whistle-stop train and motor coach tour” designed to galvanize greater public support for all types of educational choice.

The tour will begin in Newark, NJ on January 22 and make stops in 14 cities spanning 3,800 miles across the country. In addition to the tour, National School Choice Week will feature an estimated 5,000 independently-planned and independently-funded events across the country

The Learning Center! was one of the first of 34 charter schools to open its doors in 1997 when charter legislation was passed in North Carolina. The school has 183 students currently enrolled and serves students across district lines in 2 counties.

TLC! In the News

Local Charter School Advocates for National School Choice Week

This week marks the Nation’s largest-ever celebration of education reform in American history. National School Choice Week, a series of hundreds of events spotlighting the need for better educational options for students, kicks off at a special event in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 21, 2012 and runs until January 28. During the week, thousands of school choice advocates, teachers, students, organizations and leaders will gather all across the country to build public support for school choice so that more children can benefit from the promise of educational equality.

According to the organization’s website, www.SchoolChoiceWeek.com, governors from across the country are expected to commemorate the Week with special proclamations.

Local charter school, The Learning Center! will be among the many schools of choice paying close attention to the event. “We believe that children and families deserve increased access to great public schools, public charter schools, virtual and online schooling, private schools, and home schooling,” said Dana Bolyard, Social Media Director & Charter Advocate for the school. Advocates for school choice believe that education is not “one size fits all” because not all children learn the same and therefore every child, and their parents, should have the opportunity to choose the best education to suit their needs. The Heritage Foundation’s website features an excellent short video called, “School Choice Made Simple” explaining school choice, how it benefits parents and children and why school choice is needed. http://www.heritage.org/multimedia/video/2011/07/what-is-school-choice

This year was touted as “The Year of Choice” by The Wall Street Journal’s website, citing that, “No fewer than 13 states have enacted school choice legislation in 2011, and 28 states have legislation pending.” North Carolina and Tennessee also eliminated caps on the number of charter schools.The Learning Center! was one of the first of 34 charter schools to open its doors in 1997 when charter legislation was passed in North Carolina. Director Mary Jo Dyre has always felt strongly that healthy, vibrant communities must offer school choice to its public. Over the past few years as The Learning Center! has seen an increase in enrollment of more than 25 percent, Dyre continues to be grateful that The Learning Center! is part of a community that places a high value on choice in education.

What does school choice mean?

 

On January 23-29, 2011 more than 200 organizations came together for a week of action to spotlight effective education options for all children in American. Tens of thousands of advocates, parents and concerned citizens participated to raise awareness of school choice. This year National School Choice Week is January 22-28, 2012.

So, what does school choice mean?

School Vouchers 

School vouchers give parents the freedom to use all or part of the tax funding set aside for their children’s education to send their children to the public or private school of their choice. Vouchers can take different forms – including universal voucher programs, income-based voucher programs, vouchers for children performing poorly in public school or who are attending failing  public schools, or special needs vouchers. During the 2011-12 academic year, there are 16 voucher programs in 11 states and Washington, D.C.

Tax-credit Scholarship Programs 

Tax-credit scholarships allow businesses or individuals to invest in the education of children in their communities by giving them tax credit from state taxes for donating to non-profit organizations. The organizations use that money to fund private school scholarships for students. In some programs, students must meet certain income criteria to be eligible for  scholarships. Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) are non-profits that can be started by anyone. Participating private schools are required to meet standards for safety, fiscal soundness, and non-discrimination. Currently there are ten tax credit scholarship programs in eight states.

Personal Tax Credits and Deductions

Personal tax credits and deduction situations,  parents are given a tax credit or tax deduction from state income taxes for approved educational expenses. This usually includes private school tuition as well as books, supplies, computers, tutors, and transportation. Even when tuition is not eligible for the credit or deduction, these programs still make school choice easier for parents because they relieve the burden of non-tuition expenses at private schools. Some programs restrict the income level of eligible recipients or the amount they can claim. There are currently 6 programs in 6 states during the 2011-12 academic year

Open Enrollment 

Open Enrollment improves student achievement and enhances parental choice in education by providing additional options to students to enroll in public schools without regard to their parents’ residence. Open Enrollment provides students in the traditional public school system the choice to enroll in a school in any district provided without regard to the pupil’s school of residence. Open Enrollment laws vary by state with some states having more restrictive policies and others more liberal.

 Homeschooling 

Parents who choose homeschooling educate their children outside of public or private schools, typically within their own homes. This method of education is becoming more and more common in the United States, growing from about 15,000 students in 1970 to approximately 1.5 million as of 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Many states require standardized test scores, curriculum approval, and regular professional evaluation of students.

 Charter Schools 

Charter schools combine the accountability and oversight of traditional public schools with the flexibility of private schools.  Charters are tuition-free independent public schools that are freed from many state and local rules and regulations in exchange for increased financial and academic accountability. Parental involvement is strongly encouraged.  Charters are open to all children – students are selected at random. They are accountable for results-based student achievement. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools during the 2010-11 school year, 40 states and Washington, D.C. operate charter school laws. Currently 5,277 charter schools serve more than 1.8 million students.

Virtual Schools and Online Schooling 

Virtual schools are institutions that teach students entirely or primarily through online curriculum. They provide flexibility and allow for highly individualized, personalized instruction. In some states, virtual schools must have a brick-and-mortar location where children go to receive online instruction. In other states, online instruction can be done from home. The International Association for K-12 Online Learning estimates that 1.5 million students took one or more online courses in 2010.

 

[Information for this post came from the National School Choice Week website at http://www.schoolchoiceweek.com/]

More about National School Choice Week

This week, local charter school, The Learning Center! will play a role as local advocate in a nationwide awareness campaign by “National School Choice Week” (NSCW) supporters. The campaign takes place from January 23 – 29, 2011.

According to the NSCW website, The Learning Center! Charter School is listed among dozens of high profile organizers, charter schools and supporters that promote choice in education to provide options, flexibility to motivate students as well as allow parents to choose the school that is best for their child. Some of these supporters listed along with the school are: The Center for Education Reform, The American Federation for Children, Alliance for School Choice, The Heritage Foundation, Education Reform Now, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to name just a few.

“We believe our students deserve the best education in the world.” said Dana Bolyard, Social Media Director & Charter Advocate for The Learning Center. “That’s why we are adding our support to the first-ever, nationwide call for effective education options for every child – National School Choice Week.”

During the week, thousands of school choice advocates, teachers, students, organizations and leaders will gather all across the country to build public support for school choice so that more children can benefit from the promise of educational equality. “We have sent out informational letters to our parents and asked them to join the campaign on the NSCW website, as well as follow our school’s blog for highlights and information during the week.” said Bolyard.

Political analyst and former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris is also a big supporter of school choice. “I think the education system in the next 24 months will change completely in the United States in the direction of school choice.” Morris believes; “one size does not fit all and (I) believe families deserve choices.” A TV ad recently launched by NSCW raises awareness about our failing public education system and encourages people across the country to get involved and make their voices be heard.

In the past two years, charter schools have come into the spotlight in the school choice issue. In 2009, President Obama issued a proclamation recognizing public charter schools for their “…dedication and commitment to achievement in education. They are models of excellence and are promoting the interests of our children, our economy and our nation as a whole.” The proclamation calls on states and communities to support public charter schools and the students they serve. More buzz was created regarding school choice after the 2010 release of “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary film by “An Inconvenient Truth” director, Davis Guggenheim. The film analyzes the failures of public education by following several students through the educational system.

The Learning Center! was one of the first of 34 charter schools to open its doors in 1997 when charter legislation was passed in North Carolina. Director Mary Jo Dyre has always felt strongly that healthy, vibrant communities must offer school choice to its public. Over the past few years as The Learning Center! has seen an increase in enrollment of more than 25 percent, Dyre continues to be grateful that The Learning Center! is part of a community that places a high value on choice in education.

National School Choice Week

We believe all of America’s children deserve the best education in the world. That’s why we are adding our support to the first-ever, nationwide call for effective education options for every child – National School Choice Week taking place from January 23 – 29, 2011.

During the week, thousands of school choice advocates, teachers, students, organizations and leaders will gather all across the country to build public support for school choice so that more children in our nation can benefit from the promise of educational equality.

Please help us shine a spotlight on effective education options for every child by adding your voice to National School Choice week.  Visit http://schoolchoiceweek.com.  Become a member.  Show your support!