The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) Supports National School Choice Week

WASHINGTON, DC — The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) joins millions of parents, educators, students, lawmakers, and employers to support National School Choice Week.

Whether it is the 4,340 magnet schools that educate more than 3.5 million students, the 43 states and the District of Columbia that provide more than 3.2 million students access to charter schools, or a unique mix of voluntary and mandatory open enrollment programs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. In the non-public school sector, 26 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico operate 54 publically funded scholarship programs for approximately 500,000 students. Examples include a tax credit program for families in Florida and Georgia, Education Savings Accounts in Arizona, and city-based scholarship programs in Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York and Washington, DC, to name a few.

Before many of these public and private school choice programs were in operation, homeschooling was a pathway for families. Today, approximately 2.3 million students are homeschooled throughout the United States. Research about participants in public and private choice programs identifies positive outcomes regarding state and national achievement examinations, high school graduation rates, and college matriculation and completion.

At the same time, not all choice programs provide a quality learning environment for students and educators. Choice advocates, as well as officials overseeing these programs, must address this issue. In the interim, public and private stakeholders should support choice.

“All families deserve access to a quality education to enhance learning-and-earning opportunities for their children,” said Gerard Robinson, executive director of CAO. “This education can take place inside of a school building, through a virtual classroom or a blended model, at home, after school, or by way of another innovative delivery model.”

For families living in fragile communities in the United States, which CAO defines in its State of Opportunity in American Report (2018) as “communities that are characterized by high proportions of residents struggling in their daily lives and possessing limited opportunities for social mobility,” lack of access to a quality K-12 and postsecondary education remains a major barrier to economic prosperity.

“Ensuring families who live in fragile communities have a voice in education conversations during and after National School Choice Week remains an important goal for CAO.”

Learn more about CAO Supported Research.

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