National School Choice Week is the Country’s Largest Celebration
for School Choice and Educational Freedom
Nashville, Tenn., January 29, 2015 – Using the backdrop of this week’s National School Choice Week celebration, parent leaders of the Tennessee Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org, a group promoting more educational choices for families across the state, called on Tennessee state officials to treat schools of choice no differently than other traditional neighborhood schools.
“We, as parents, should have the right to choose schools that work best our children, whether they be charter, magnet, online or our local neighborhood school,” said Cathy Berg from Nashville, a state Co-Chair of PublicSchoolOptions.org-TN. “Yet, some critics want to hold all but the traditional neighborhood school to much higher and different standards in an effort to take those options away from us.”
“My child attends and is excelling at Tennessee Virtual Academy, an online Tennessee public school in Union County, that is one of the fastest-improving schools in the state, but some legislators are now threatening to close down our school just because they don’t like it,” Berg said. “That’s just wrong and we will not stand for it.”
State Rep. Joe Pitts from Clarksville, a member of the House Education Committee, recently called for closure of the Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA) for what he said were persistently low test scores. But Pitts failed to reference there are more than 100 other Tennessee public schools across the state that have demonstrated similar three-year composite trends on the state’s TVAAS evaluation system, including Montgomery Central Middle School, in his own hometown.
“Unlike some of the other schools, TNVA test scores are dramatically improving,” said Michelle Hamidi, a state Co-Chair of PublicSchoolOptions.org-TN from Chattanooga. “According to former State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, returning second and third year students at TNVA are making strong academic gains and are now performing at an acceptable Level 3.”
“That kind of hard work and improvement by TNVA students should not be punished just because Rep. Pitts and some of the anti-school choice interests don’t like the choices that parents have made for their children,” Hamidi said. “If TNVA, or any other school of choice, is going to be held to a higher standard, or threatened to be closed based only on test scores, then we think all schools in the state performing at the same level should be treated exactly the same way.”
Berg and Hamidi said National School Choice Week is the perfect backdrop to call attention to the threats facing schools of choice, like TNVA and many others are facing.
Celebrated every year in January, National School Choice Week shines a positive spotlight on all types of effective education options for children, including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling. National School Choice Week 2015 will feature a history-making 11,000 independently-planned and independently-funded events across all 50 states.
PublicSchoolOptions.org is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ rights to access the best public school options for their children. The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, we advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children. PublicSchoolOptions.org is a non-profit 501(c)4 and is not affiliated with any school or other organization.