(photo by Dallas Morning News)
Who advocates for school choice in Texas? There are several organizations who provide information and advocate on behalf of school choice in Texas. Support these organizations and join the fight.
Families Empowered services the Houston and San Antonio area. Their home page features a map displaying schools in those areas. They identify District Zoned Schools, Magnet Schools, Private Schools, Homeschooling & Online Schools and Charter Schools.
Families Empowered is “a nonprofit organization founded to support the escalating number of families searching for a great school for their child.”
- Our mission is to empower families to engage in a marketplace of schools — that is, to understand their school options and choose the right school for their child.
- We do this by providing families with tools and resources for selecting a school and helping them navigate the application process to get there.
- We do not advocate for any one schooling option over the other.
- We want families to know that when it comes to selecting a school, you have a voice in the choice.
Texans for Education Opportunity is based in Austin. From their site: “Texans for Education Opportunity represents thousands of Texans from across the state that are committed to providing every child with access to a quality education. We advocate at the grassroots and grass tops levels, and directly with legislators in favor of expanding educational opportunities in Texas. In our view, “educational choice” includes: education savings accounts, scholarship tax credit programs, public charter schools, virtual charter schools, home schools, and high-performing traditional public schools.”
- Education is the foundation to lifelong success
- No child should be denied access to a quality education because of their parent’s income or their zip code
- No one knows a child better than their parents
- Parents should be empowered with the tools to make the best educational decision for their child
Texas Aspires, also known as Texas Institute for Education Reform, is also based in Austin. “Texas Aspires is a bipartisan, non-profit organization working in partnership with education, business and community leaders to provide greater opportunity for Texas children by improving education in the state. We believe every Texas child, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code, deserves a quality education. In pursuit of a stronger Texas, we advocate for policies that provide local communities with the tools necessary to improve our schools, involve parents and educators, and create meaningful improvements in the classroom. Above all, Texas Aspires advocates for education policies that focus on students first.”
Texas School Choice Coalition is a Facebook group who shares articles, events and information on school choice. “We are a network of organizations and individuals from across the Lone Star State who support expanding parental choice options in Texas.”
Texas School Choice Coalition sponsors an annual rally held at the Texas Capitol during National School Choice Week.
The Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) was created in 2008 to unify, support and grow the charter movement. As it entered its fifth year of operations, TCSA embarked on a planning process designed to assess the current environment, chart a course for the future and define a sustainable business model that enhances vital services for our members and the broader charter school community.
From the Executive Director, David Dunn, “We believe that every parent should have the opportunity to choose the free, public school that best fits their student’s needs and Texas families are speaking out! In 2014-15, charter schools serve 227,827 students in 613 campuses across the state with an estimated 105,000 students waiting for a seat at a charter school.”
The Texas Private Schools Association is a statewide organization representing more than 800 accredited private schools and 250,000 students throughout the state of Texas. TPSA advocates for the independence of Texas private schools, ensuring their freedom to fulfill their unique missions and meet the diverse needs of students.
The Texas Private Schools Association works to ensure that:
- Private schools retain autonomy from undue government control
- Private schools have a collective voice in educational policy
- Relevant information and strategic resources are regularly communicated and available to member schools
- The public good of private schools is recognized
- All private schools, teachers, and students are treated equitably
Texas Home School Coalition, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization, is the state support organization. Its mission is to serve and inform the homeschool community and promote home education in Texas. Its work is supported by tax-deductible contributions of individuals and families.
“The Texas Home School Coalition is the state organization for home schooling and is dedicated to serving the home school community of Texas and promoting a greater knowledge, understanding and acceptance of home education in our state.”
Formerly known as the Friedman Foundation, EdChoice’s mission is “to advance educational freedom and choice for all as a pathway to successful lives and a stronger society.”
EdChoice conducts research, offers training, provides access to EdChoice experts, and has a comprehensive wealth of information about how states are doing on school choice initiatives.
Next year, national school choice week is January 22-28, 2017. “The goal of National School Choice Week (NSCW) is to raise public awareness of all types of education options for children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.
To meet this goal, NSCW encourages schools, organizations, and individuals to hold positive events that celebrate school choice options, while drawing attention to the need for even greater opportunities for children.”
“OUR MISSION: To build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-given potential.”
Excel in Ed has numerous resources and policy papers to reference for those who are working to advocate at their state and local levels.
From the family who brought us Walmart, the Walton Family Foundation have been strong advocates for education choice, investing almost $180 million into school choice grants and programs in 2015, alone.
“We will support statewide and national efforts to develop environments receptive to choice, autonomy and innovation. This includes working with local educators and community leaders — as well as with some national organizations active in communities — to create local environments that are friendly to choice.”
Key grantees include:
- Charter School Growth Fund
- Building Excellent Schools
- Education Reform Now
- American Federation for Children
- Denver Public Schools
- The KIPP Foundation
- Building Hope and other charter facility-finance and technical-assistance organizations
Other organizations who advocate for school choice as well as other conservative issues:
Until every family is provided the opportunity to educate their child to the best interest of the child, school choice advocacy is necessary. Please consider what you can do to help ensure all students receive a high-quality, comprehensive education that suits their learning style, abilities and goals.