Supporters of school choice by the hundreds are expected to gather at the Mississippi legislature next week during National School Choice Week.
January 26 through February 1 is National School Choice Week across the U.S. The focus of the observance, according to sponsors, is to celebrate not a particular type of schooling but to highlight all of the education options available to families for their children. SchoolChoiceWeek.com says that includes traditional public schools, charter public schools, magnet public schools, online public schools, private schools, and homeschooling.
It's the fourth time that Mississippi will participate in National School Choice Week. Grant Callen of Empower Mississippi is predicting that around a thousand students, teachers, parents, legislators, and others will gather at the State Capitol in Jackson on Tuesday morning (January 28).
"We've got people from every corner of the state, from dozens of different schools and types of schools; we'll have representatives from public school and private school and charter school and homeschool and everybody else there," he tells OneNewsNow. "It's just going to be a great time."
Callen explains this is not about pushing any piece of legislation or debating public vs. private education. The "mission" at the Jackson gathering – as it will be at other state observances – will be to present all of the education options, objectively, to parents so they can find the right fit for their children.
"[Mississippi] Governor Tate Reeves has been an advocate for additional education options and school choice and strong traditional public education," Callen adds. "So, he's been invited [to the celebration on Tuesday], and I'm hopeful he'll be able to attend."
Mississippi is one of only six states in the country that offers an Education Scholarship Account program (ESA) for students with special needs. But unless the legislature takes action in the coming legislative session, that program – which was created in 2015 – will expire at the end of June.