January 30, 2015
Giving Choice a Voice: A Rally for Educational Opportunity
Deputy Director of Federal Relations
Sen. Tim Scott thrilled the standing-room-only crowd with an enthusiastic defense of school choice.
“When parents have a choice, kids have a chance!”
The theme of National School Choice Week resounded through the Cannon Caucus Room in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning as 300 kids joined teachers, parents, families, and elected representatives in calling for educational reform.
The rally was just one of over 11,000 events around the country held as part of National School Choice Week. Representatives from HSLDA attended the event on behalf of Homeschool Now USA, a coalition of homeschool organizations formed to support the choice to homeschool. Homeschool families from around the country also joined the rally to promote home education as a viable educational alternative.
Indiana Representative Luke Messer emceed Wednesday’s event, which was packed to standing-room-only capacity with students from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. Messer began the event with a brief introduction to school choice and explained why he became involved in the movement. “The fact is lots of kids go to great schools in America, but too many don’t,” he said. “We cannot rest until every child has access to a great school.”
Following Messer’s remarks, Speaker of the House John Boehner presented the keynote address. He described how his parents struggled to send him and his 11 siblings to Catholic school, striving to give them the best possible chance for success. Boehner recounted his involvement in the early legislative fight for educational opportunity, which began when he was elected in 1991. Boehner helped bring the initial idea of parental school choice to the mainstream, and this idea eventually became the school choice movement. (Speaker Boehner’s full address can be found online.)
Andrew Mullins assists our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL), one of several Democrats in the room, challenged Democrats and Republicans to unite on school choice. “This is an issue that everyone should agree on,” he said. “It has to be a priority.”
Building a Coalition
Lipinski’s call for unity was followed by messages focusing on opportunity from Reps. John Kline(MN), Mark Meadows (NC), Patrick McHenry (NC), Virginia Foxx (NC), Todd Rokita (IL), Tim Walberg(MI), and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA), along with Senator Ted Cruz (TX). Each leader emphasized the depth and breadth of students’ potential, particularly when students are presented with outstanding options for education.
“School choice is spelled H-O-P-E,” said Sen. Tim Scott (SC), who brought down the house with his enthusiasm. If any of the 300 kids in the room were not energized by the other speakers, their attention was immediately riveted on Sen. Scott. A staunch advocate of choice in education, Scott introduced Senate Resolution 30 to promote School Choice Week. S.R. 30 passed the Senate unanimously on January 20. You can read the full text here.
HSLDA joins with students, parents, teachers, schools, homeschool support groups, and other organizations around the country in promoting parental choice in education. School choice gives parents an opportunity to decide what is best for the education of their children, whether it be in public schools, private schools, or homeschools.
For more information on School Choice Week, please visit www.homeschoolnowusa.com.