After a string of holidays from October through December, January can seem like a letdown. Unless you’re someone—a parent, student, teacher, education entrepreneur, or engaged citizen—who cares about education. Because each year National School Choice Week (NSCW) falls towards the end of January and gives us a chance to celebrate the multitude of learning options that are meeting children’s needs every day.
NSCW includes all types of educational choice. In a growing number of states, there are scholarship programs that help parents send their children to private schools that better meet their needs. EdChoice’s School Choice in America Dashboard tracks these programs, and the list, which includes some programs that aren’t fully operational yet, has expanded rapidly in recent years. There are voucher programs that help parents pay private school tuition in fourteen states plus DC and Puerto Rico. Tax credit scholarships, which allow individuals and/or businesses to receive a tax credit when they donate to a scholarship‐granting organization, are in twenty‐two states. And thirteen states now have educational savings accounts, which can be used for a variety of education‐related expenses—helping parents customize their children’s learning journeys.
Most of these school choice programs were initially geared toward specific groups of students, like children with special needs or who were assigned to poor‐performing public schools. But we’ve seen an uptick of universal programs that expand eligibility to all K‑12 students in a state. This is great news given the strong support for school choice across demographics and political parties.
Last summer, the American Federation for Children released a RealClear Opinion Research poll showing overall support at 71 percent, with 66 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans, and 69 percent of Independents expressing support. EdChoice’s monthly tracking poll similarly shows strong support across the board.
With interest in and access to education choice growing so much, it’s no surprise that this is shaping up to be the biggest celebration yet. According to Your Ultimate Guide to NSCW 2024, “This year, National School Choice Week is jam‐packed with events nationwide including: 71 state flagship events across 45 states, planned by 66 nonprofit organizations, including 34 school fairs; 22 governors (and counting) proclaiming ‘School Choice Week’ in their state; 38 major landmarks across 21 states illuminating in yellow and red; and a total of 27,112 events across all 50 states.”
To find events in your area, you can head to the National School Choice Week’s participants page, click on your state, and choose the “Celebrations” tab. Feel free to share your own story or celebration on social media using #SchoolChoiceWeek.