A national effort to get lawmakers talking about education is about to kick off with emphasis in Arizona.
About 3,500 events will take place across the country in the next seven days for National School Choice Week. Southern Arizona will have about a dozen events.
“National School Choice Week is a time where all across the country we celebrate every kind of school option that parents have in order to get their children an excellent education," says Lisa Graham Keegan, senior adviser to National School Choice Week and a former Arizona superintendent of public instruction.
Keegan says the event acknowledges all the options for education -- traditional district school, public and private charter schools, religious schools and home schooling, "and the new kid on the block - online learning, which is growing by leaps and bounds.”
The week's events are nonpartisan efforts with bipartisan support, Keegan says. Last year the governors and legislatures of 28 states issued proclamations officially recognizing it.
Keegan says the most important part of this effort is to inform parents of what options are available when it comes to education.
"Parents are used to saying, 'I live in this neighborhood and therefore that’s my school.' Now we have so many options that just haven’t been," sahe says. " ... In traditional district schools, there are a lot of changes going on as well.”
She says Arizona stands out during National School Choice Week.
“Arizona always leads the country when it comes to the kind of laws, policies and traditions that allow for choice of schools,” Keegan says. “We did away with tuitioning between school districts that became impossible in 1994, so it’s been free choice.”
And that’s what the event is about, she says: giving families the free choice to place students where they will learn best.