Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.
I’m thrilled to say that last month’s school choice rally held in Las Vegas was a great success. As part of National School Choice Week, thousands of Nevada parents, students and educators rallied around the concept of choice in education.
Clearly, it is a cause that is close to the hearts of parents of all backgrounds, politics and demographics.
Nationally, there was over 16,700 events held in celebration of choice in education. Thirty-three governors, including Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, issued proclamations officially recognizing Jan. 24-30 as School Choice Week. Even the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to recognize the last week in January as National School Choice Week.
But that doesn’t mean proponents of educational choice are finished. In fact, in the last week, the momentum from January’s event has been growing.
Early next week, Pastor Ron Thomas with the Reconciliation Apostolic Ministries will be coming out in support of Nevada’s Education Savings Accounts at an event designed to let his Westside community ask questions about the new reform.
Ron Thomas has been a pastor for 20 years, and is even an officer with the Las Vegas chapter of the NAACP. While the NAACP has not come out in support of ESAs, Pastor Ron told us that he believed in educational choice too strongly to remain quiet.
That’s why he’s hosting an event — with Sen. Scott Hammond, the author of SB302 — to let his flock and his neighborhood know about the opportunities available to them through ESAs. The Educational Choice Open House will be held Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m., at the Reconciliation Apostolic Ministries.
Pastor Ron’s passion for improving the lives of struggling students is inspiring. And Pastor Ron isn’t alone.
All over the state, ESAs have earned the support from parents and educators with wide and diverse backgrounds. Educational choice is gaining momentum and attracting parents, leaders and educators who are eager to put aside partisan politics. ESAs, because they empower families rather than political special interests, are quickly gaining momentum.
As Pastor Ron said, education should be about children — not politics.
And that’s why it is so important that we protect this reform.
Opponents of choice in education are hoping the rest of us give up, or quiet down. Parents, however, are doing nothing of the sort. Hundreds of parents have already signed the petition on NevadaESA.com to protect the nation’s most inclusive educational choice program, and we need more in the coming weeks.
Take a couple minutes to sign the petition to protect Nevada’s ESAs, and help make the Silver State the national leader for substantive education reform.
School Choice Week might be over, but the momentum for real change in education is forever ongoing.
Sharon J. Rossie
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