School Choice

White House Hasn't Announced Any National School Choice Week Events

The White House hasn't participated in the event since the week was established in 2011.


White House

The seventh annual National School Choice Week, which starts today and of which Reason is a media sponsor, is expected to be the largest yet, according to the self-titled organization that runs the event. More than 20,000 events have been planned by various schools, organizations, and individuals across the country, but the White House, with a new president but for the seventh year in a row, does not appear to be hosting any public events to recognize the week.

The Obama administration, while it included in its tail-end a leader from the charter school movement in John King, did not host any events for National School Choice Week either. The percentage of public school students attending charters more than doubled between the school year ending in 2004 and the school year ending in 2014, the most recent year for which data is available—the first charter school legislation was passed in 1991 in Minnesota.

Despite the White House's apparent lack of preparation, despite at least three and a half months of lead time, the Trump administration is poised to be far friendlier toward the cause of school choice and school reform than its predecessor. President Trump's nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has a long career in school choice advocacy, and has earned the ire of both teachers unions and Title IX zealots, a sure sign they perceive DeVos as a potent change agent.

Senate Democrats spent the bulk of DeVos' hearing grand-standing over public schools, the most popular attacks on DeVos being about her educational background (she never attended public schools, which is not new—the most recent nominee with no public schooling was Obama's Arne Duncan) and family (DeVos comes from a wealthy family that supports various political and social causes). As Scott Shackford noted, while progressives can try to fight DeVos, they won't be able to stop school choice (or even the DeVos nomination. 65 percent of Americans said they supported charter schools last year, and the support is likely even higher in the urban areas that benefit the most from school choice (at least this has been my experience teaching in the Newark, N.J., public schools and living in both Newark and Philadelphia). Even politicians who win while using anti-charter rhetoric, like Bill de Blasio in New York City, fail to convert their rhetoric into action. De Blasio quickly backtracked after launching a high profile war on charters upon taking office in 2013.

The White House has until Sunday to throw something together if they're interested. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans delayed the committee vote on DeVos by one week, to next Tuesday, to give senators more time to review an ethics report on how DeVos is expected to handle potential conflicts of interest. Barring an unforeseen turn of events, DeVos ought to be confirmed easily—in 2013 Senate Democrats reformed the filibuster to exclude its use in confirming presidential appointments.

Note: National School Choice Week, an annual event promoting the ability of parents and students to have greater options in K-12 education, starts today. Over 21,000 events involving almost 17,000 schools from all 50 states will take place over the coming days. Go here to get more information about events and data about how increasing school choice--charters, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and more--is one of the best ways to improve education for all Americans. As a proud media sponsor of National School Choice Week, Reason will be publishing daily articles, podcasts, videos, interviews, and other coverage exploring the ways in which education is being radically altered and made better by letting more people have more choices when it comes to learning. For a constantly updated list of stories, go to Reason's archive page on "school choice."

NEXT: Why We Need School Choice: "Obama Administration Spent Billions To Fix Failing Schools, And It Didn't Work"

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  1. The White House has until Sunday to throw something together if they're interested.

    At least slap a "School Choice Czar" sash on someone and shove him onstage.

    1. maybe one of those orange reflective belts they give the kids who are bus safeties in elementary school.

    2. Or nominate a Secretary of Education?

      1. I would prefer they do something useful, like that sash idea being thrown around.

  2. Nice that the future is following the script:

    "Is that a real owl?"

    1. And maybe while you're having coffee, the owl will attack you and sink it's talons into your stupid head.

      1. Most people just have a crueller or something with their coffee and the Japanese are well-known for coming up with some really weird food combinations so I just don't see Dunkin' Owls or Tim Hooters becoming a big thing. Even if owls do taste just like chicken.

        1. Tim Hortons would be sufficiently improved with a dramatic increase in the number of big-titted female staff.

          1. I think that comment would be accurate for a number of establishments....

  3. So Trump is not spending taxpayer money. Reason magazine complains.

    1. "Complaining" is doing a lot of work here, and the assumption about taxpayer money is a pretty big one.

      1. I have but one complaint. And it has to do with the comma placement in this sentence:

        More than 20,000 events have been planned by various schools, organizations, and individuals across the country, but the White House, with a new president but for the seventh year in a row, does not appear to be hosting any public events to recognize the week.

        1. I, for one, am satisfied by the comma placement in that sentence, and think that commas, in this day and age, are underutilized.

          1. Yeah, looks okay to me. Nice flow. At least he isn't Nick, an editor, with various typos. I even pointed a few out to him a couple articles ago in the comments and I don't think he has fixed them yet.

        2. I would have made it two sentences.

        3. *sigh* Fine, how about this:

          More than 20000 events have been planned by various schools, organizations, and individuals across the country, but the White House, with a new president but for the seventh year in a row, does not appear to be hosting any public events to recognize the week.

      2. I think he would prefer to have the government take money from people and not spend it.

        1. Wouldn't that at least maybe lead to reducing the federal debt?

          1. Not sure how since they couldn't spend it on debt service.

            1. Does debt service count as spending?

              1. Hell, tax cuts count as spending.

    2. So Trump is not spending taxpayer money. Reason magazine complains.

      What a stupid comment.

      1. I want to complain. There are too many people complaining and I won't stand for it!

    3. Is Trump a doctrinaire Libertarian who doesn't support spending taxpayer money on these types of events? No? Oh, so why might Trump not be in favor of spending taxpayer money on school choice events? Hmm I wonder...

  4. Donald Trump might actually do something to privatize the schools.

    True fact or alternative fact? You decide.

  5. School choice and vouchers are fantastic and any opposition to them is really based on 'respectable' bigotry of rich white liberals (they don't want poor brown kids going to their kid's private school). But this article conflates charter schools with vouchers. While this is often done a lot in the school reform movement, I'm less enthusiastic about charter schools. Often charter schools are just rent-seekers receiving preferred treatment and limited outside competition due to their political connections (Chicago charters is a good example).

    We don't need more schools. We to allow people to choose the school they want to attend. If the administration truly wants to change education they need to go full on with vouchers.

    1. Wouldn't a voucher program have little to do with the federal government and instead he handled through either state or local districts? Those are the taxes that pay for the bulk of public education and they are the taxes that would be reallocated to vouchers. A federal voucher program would be a huge net negative on the budget and wouldn't solve the problem of underperforming public schools (since it wouldn't reallocate their state and local taxes elsewhere and the lousy performance of those schools will continue to be funded).

      1. I never said we need a federal voucher program, but the federal government should encourage such a system on the state level (ie. not trying to fight it as the last administration did). Additionally, federal funds such as 'Race to the Top' can be redirected to support such an effort of vouchers.

        An alternative would be to eliminate the Education Department, which I am fine with and would prefer. But, that's not going to happen

        1. Oh, gotcha. I misunderstood your last sentence I guess. Usually when somebody says the fedgov should "go full on" on a program, it means they want them to implement and fund it.

          Yeah, I'd be all for the fedgov strongly advocating for a voucher program as well as charter programs. In fact, I think it would be great if they pared down the entire DoEd to one person doing nothing but teaveling the country giving speeches to that effect.

    2. We don't need more schools.

      You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants schools or of 18 different pairs of sneakers charter programs when children are hungry in this country.

    3. Full privatization would be much, much better than either vouchers or charter schools. I'm not even entirely sure I can support the expansion of vouchers, since it means propping up the government schools for that much longer.

      1. Yes, why not privatize? Socialism has not been effective in education, sorry.

        1. Yes, why not privatize? Socialism has not been effective in education, sorry.

          Is anybody, politically or representatively speaking, putting that on the table anywhere? Seems like, if anything, we've been shuttering for-profit* education centers in the last couple years.

          *Yes, nuanced, I know.

        2. Doesn't it say something about socialism when you can't even get it to work correctly on a local level? To be fair, it has gotten worse as FedGov has gotten their grubby hands into it, but still. Schools are like the low hanging fruit for socialism, and they fuck that up beyond repair as well.

          1. Some public schools are really quite good (though of course we don't know how much better it could be if the money were used in other ways). So at least in some cases it can work out reasonably well at a local level. The problem is thinking that throwing more money at the ones that don't work will help.

            1. It's like Apollo. Sure, we tossed shitloads of money at the program and got men to the Moon, but those shitloads of money made the whole thing unsustainable. And, similar to education, that kind of money resulted in a permanent corporate welfare establishment.

            2. To be sure. Socialism can work if everyone that has skin in the game can easily effect change, wants to, and does when necessary

              This is why public schools can be really good in areas where the parents actually care about their children. This is also why they can be absolutely horrendous in inner cities where people put the burden of raising their children almost solely on the tax payer and daddy government, washing their hands of them.

              It would seem that simply moving the money out of the hands of government and into the hands of people wouldn't really change much, but it does. As soon as you make the decision to buy something, you care about quality, even if you don't really care about your kids that much, because your decision is a reflection on you now and not other people.

        3. The myth that public schools are good an necessary is deeply embedded in the culture and will be a hard one to shift. Baby steps is the only thing that's got any chance of improving the situation right now.

    4. School choice and vouchers are fantastic and any opposition to them is really based on 'respectable' bigotry of rich white liberals

      There may be some of that but I think it's simpler: the opposition is largely led by the unions, and the unions run the Democratic party machine that controls liberal regions.

      1. Yes, that explains Democrats opposing school vouchers, but it doesn't explain the revulsion of progressives toward school vouchers. Progressives are 'respectable' bigots. Their bigotry gets excused, though. Look at any NYT article about Clarence Thomas and see how many insults are thrown at him.

  6. I'm shocked this administration may be slightly disorganized.

    1. This all seems like stuff a Secretary of Education would decide - but we don't have one yet.

      Or better yet, there wouldn't be a Department of Education and this would be nothing but a state issue.

      1. Come on man, if we didn't have a department of education, everyone would die in the streets. Before the department of education there was only anarchy and barbarism.

        1. ^ This
          And before Obamacare folks dying in the streets as well.....

          1. It was death in the streets all the way down.

      2. This all seems like stuff a Secretary of Education would decide - but we don't have one yet.

        Decide what? They have had a transition team in place since Trump won the election, so surely they have had the time to put together an event that would help show their devotion to a cause they claim to champion. It's not like they have to have a specific plan to show their support.

        Or better yet, there wouldn't be a Department of Education and this would be nothing but a state issue.


        1. National School Choice Week belongs on the radar of the transition team?

          1. They had an education specific transition team, so yes, I would think school choice week is an event they would take seriously if they were taking school choice seriously.

            1. school choice week is an event

              School choice Monday is a gaga, not an event. Fridays are mostly events, but only on odd numbered calendar days. On even days they are extravaganzas

              1. gaga

                or gala in it's English translation

          2. Yes, and they need to be hosting an event, mind you. Anything otherwise is either disorganization or lack of commitment. We need more EVENTS hosted

            1. It used to be that every group in New New York wanted their own parade. Why, when I was a boy, we had a parade every day. Those were dark times.

      3. But there is an acting Sec of Ed. Whether that person is the Deputy Sec (often a careerist) or DeVos is acting secretary. Also, even if DeVos isn't it, she should be able to call the White House and remind them to get on that.

  7. Cut regulations by 75%, maybe more?

    He's crazy I tell you, crazy! If we cut even one millionth of one percent of one regulation, everyone will die! DIE I TELL YOU! WE'RE DOOMED!

    1. Wow, really? Wonder how Congress would react to that?

  8. I have a fantastic public school right down the street that I plan on sending my kids to. Do you think I'll still be able to do that or will I be shelling out thousands of dollars a month to send my kids to Betty Devos' Christian Academy by the end of the Trump presidency?

    1. Hopefully your children will be made wards of the state so a more fit human being will be given a word in how they are raised.

      You'd be for the state having control over how your kids are raised, wouldn't you? You're formthem having control over the rest of us.

    2. Hey, asswipe!
      Shame they won't be able to afford teachers:

      "Bailout for teachers' pensions to cost California school districts"
      "Under a proposal released last week by Gov. Jerry Brown, more money will flow into the California State Teachers' Retirement System to begin closing an estimated $74-billion shortfall. But addressing that problem creates a different one: School systems would have to quickly pare back spending for next year, and they would face steeper diversions of dollars in later years."

      Yes, the slimebags who run the government promised retirement amounts they can't afford! Who could have ever seen that coming?
      It takes some ability to think, so asswipe and his buddies missed it entirely.

      1. But Californ eye A got that high speed train going soon, so they got that going for them.

      2. From your article... "California's school systems still will see overall funding rise"

        What problem is there, again?

        1. Pick them cherries, asswipe:
          "In other words, for a teacher who earned $50,000 a year, a district would have to set aside an additional $9,550 annually for that instructor's retirement."

          It'll rise, but not enough:
          "Paying that much to the pension program "could be devastating," Perris Union High School District Supt. Jonathan Greenberg said.
          To make matters worse, officials said, the highest contribution rate takes effect after the expiration of a temporary tax increase that is now boosting school revenues."

          You should learn reading; it's a helpful skill.

    3. Anyone who is religious is not fit to work in government. The tolerant Left trying to impose European secular standards to replace the American accommodation standard.

      1. Meh, there's a ton of religious people in European governments. Our dear friend Merkel is in charge of one of their parties.

    4. Just so everyone knows, AmSoc said over the weekend that it was all an act, that he'd been trolling us. Whether true or not, I'm not inclined to start acknowledging his posts.

      1. That was my doppleganger, american sociaist. He hasn't showed up this morning. I miss him.

        1. Still don't care.

      2. The other american socialist is hanging out in the morning links, saying completely sensible things (that's how you know it's not the real one).

        1. american sociaist is just doing it wrong. If you're going to make a troll account, you really should follow the other guy around and screw with him.

      3. Who is the asshole who decided that it was OK for capital i and lowercase L to look the same?

        1. Whoever chose to use a sans-serif typeface here. Normally sans serif is used for headlines, not for text, because of the problems you just mentioned.

  9. As I read this article, it really started to sound like Ed was blaming a building for inaction.

  10. Things we learned last week.

    The cancan is the 'national dance' of France. (I knew it was French, but it doesn't seem fancy enough for the French to be inordinately proud of it.)

    Cancan means "scandal".

    The part where the dancers show you their bums is authentic.

    Homeschool, fuck yeah.

  11. I've always found the most bizarre criticism of charters made by its opponents to be when they point out that X number of schools have closed due to poor performance in a given area.

    Well yes, that's sort of the entire point, isn't it? If the school is not living up to its end of the bargain it is punished for it. Something that does not apply to failing traditional public schools and the teachers and administrators there that are dug in like ticks.

  12. events have been planned by various schools, organizations, and individuals across the country

    You've planned an event haven't you, Ed? We need more EVENTS. If I'd had known about this sooner I'd be having the coolest EVENT evar

  13. I would say nominating Betsy Devos to be Secretary of Education is a pretty big school choice event, whether they call it one or not.

    1. Stay at home mom Kelly Richards from New York after resigning from her full time job managed to average from $6000-$8000 a month from freelancing at home? This is how she done


      1. This is how she done, John. This is how she done.

  14. We have devoted decades of effort and billions of dollars organizing our system of public education for the benefit of various assorted degreed educrats. It would be foolish to throw it all overboard just because some eccentric billionaires think they have a better idea.

    As for White House (non)participation; I think we can all agree to blame BOOOOOSH.

  15. Soft cock blows load and no fucking slut likes this and neither does my goddamn screen, Krayewski.

  16. It's too bad much of this school choice money is going to subsidize religious indoctrination.

    1. school choice money

      Sloppy Joe or slice of cheese pizza?

      1. In elementary school our pizza was made from scratch with USDA commodity ingredients. It had a thick crust made from the same dough as the yeast rolls, tomato sauce and some sort of ground meat, topped with a government-subsidized surplus of yellow American cheese. Then in high school they switched to those rectangular, tear on dotted line, slices of processed frozen cheese pizza. The first kind was much better.

    2. The first thing I'd do with backpack funding is teach my children to worship idols.

    3. Yes, it is. But you are rarely offered the choices you want; you take the least objectionable of the choices you are offered. Also, it is hoped that this will be the poison pill that will cause progs to reconsider their stand on government funding of education.

    4. Indeed, better that they be illiterate or innumerate than "indoctrinated", right?

    5. Its terrible how when people are free to make choices that some people make choices I don't like. Better to take all their choices away.

      1. Look, the whole purpose of public schooling was to stop people from being religious.

        Oh shit, did I say that out loud?

    6. Alternatively, it's too bad the public school system was erected to make it financially burdensome for parents to provide religious education for their children more than once a week, to deliberately undermine religious values in the hopes that a more secular population would be more amenable to progressive social engineering.

  17. In other states, however, school choice is not nearly as popular. Last year in Wyoming (what is ironically known as The Equality State), for example, only 24 events were held. Other large states like Mississippi and Arkansas barely held over 100 events.

    Wow! People in these states don't care at all about school choice. They didn't have hardly enough EVENTS when we told them it was the time for EVENTS!

    1. Now, that is an editorial cartoon. Reason editors take note.

  18. Last year in Wyoming (what is ironically known as The Equality State)

    How ironical! They call themselves the "Equality State", but they get to have just as many Senators as New York and California! That's not equality, that's the tyranny of the flyover states.

    *You know what's REALLY scary? Teachers and parents and students (STUDENTS! Precious children, vulnerable babies) sometimes bring guns to school and leave them locked in their vehicles, because they hunt wild critters either before or after school. And hardly anybody gives a fuck, except for the sort of grandstanding assholes who like to stand atop dead bodies and beat their breasts for political gain.

  19. HuffPo: Organizers Planning Anti-Trump Rally for April 15

    They think this will force him to release his taxes. Yep, I called this before. They will expend all their resources on political theatre which accomplishes nothing.

    1. You know when a woman puts on more makeup thinking it will make men more attracted to her, but it has the opposite effect?

      That's how I feel about Democrats right now.

  20. It is important that you use the Official dance moves and accompanying music at your EVENTS. We know you don't care about school choice if you use something different.

    1. If homeschool parents actually spend their time practicing 'Official' dance moves, I recommend that the reconsider their choices and send their children to a public school. They would be doing their children a favor.

      1. Yeah, they'd never spend time practicing dance moves at a public school

        1. My point is that if they aren't eliminating this stupid shit from their homeschool agenda, then why are they homeschooling? Unless their kid aspires to be a performing artist, of course, but in that case I hope that they would be choosing better material.

  21. Recommended complete by the end of November
    ___ Win Election
    ___ Determine what type of event
    ___ Select date and time for event
    ___ Secure venue based on realistic attendance estimates
    ___ Post your event on the NSCW website
    ___ Contact speakers or VIPs who you would like to invite
    ___ Recruit host committee to help you build attendance

  22. And I thought the US participation in the bombing of Yemen was ghastly.

    this clearly needs a hashtag.

    1. also =

      I sincerely hope that bastard is eating a pie and writing everything by hand, else our national days also be forsaken

  23. I have an idea. I have a high deductible plan at work so I largely have to pay for medical procedures myself-- up to a point. Recently, I had a CAT scan (negative, thank God, thank you). If I'm concerned about medical costs wouldn't it be a worthwhile endeavor to engage in some direct action and tell them that no, I didn't negotiate this charge, and I won't pay it. I already own a car and have a house so what are they going to do? Tell Experian on me. Have at it.

    1. If you do it beforehand, sure.

      When you do it after the fact, you now have to prove malice or fraud or coercion. Basically the burden of proof falls on you.

    1. WTF happened to Republicans in Congress? I realize they are mostly not the same group of people as in the 1990s. But come the fuck on. They've been handing out deficit-laden budgets like candy, which has led to the debt doubling yet again. I don't expect them to force every budget to be balanced (even though that's what I want), but FFS Federal spending has increased faster than inflation, population growth, or both combined can account for. You could cut 10% off all Federal spending and it would still leave us at "spending plenty of money".

      1. Minor correction: Federal tax revenues have increased faster than inflation and population growth. Federal spending has increased even faster than that.

    2. I suspect that now that the mass media have been decisively defeated, Trump could actually win in a showdown that leads to a "shutdown" by vetoing continuing resolutions. Previously the Republicans, whether in Congress or the White House, have lost because the media blamed them for shutdowns, so spending keeps increasing. Remember that spending comes via bills, & bills can be vetoed.

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