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Two Dozen States Proclaim School Choice Week

National School Choice Week is in full swing, and the number of states officially designating this as a week for discussion of education reform is at an all-time high. Through Wednesday, 24 states have proclaimed “School Choice Week,” twice the number that recognized the week last year. And a handful of other states are expected to join them before the week is out.

Of the 24 School Choice Week proclamations, 21 have been made by Republican governors, many of whom have pledged to implement education reform during the 2013 legislative cycle. And some of those governors have already taken significant steps to grant parents more control over their children’s education.

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, whose aggressive education reform package has been met with acclaim since he signed it into law last year, was among the governors recognizing School Choice Week. So was Ohio’s John Kasich, who has delivered on his promises to promote and expand school choice, according to the independent fact-checkers at PolitiFact. Both governors recognized their states as leaders in education reform in making their proclamations.

Other governors are using the week to add education reform to their states’ agendas. Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s aggressive reformer, embraced school choice this week and implied that it was high on his list of legislative priorities. South Carolina’s Nikki Haley said her state had “a long way to go” on education reform in her State of the State address last week, and may soon have the opportunity to sign reforms similar to Jindal’s if an school choice bill passes the state legislature.

New Jersey’s indomitable Chris Christie, who has tripled the number of vouchers available to students in his state, was among those who signed the proclamation. So was Rick Snyder, who made headlines last month for bringing right-to-work to Michigan. Rick Perry called for education reform in his State of the State address, although some Texas reform advocates were left wanting more from the governor.

John Hickenlooper of Colorado was the only Democratic governor to issue a School Choice Week proclamation. Democratic-held legislatures in Illinois and Delaware passed resolutions recognizing the week, but the governors of those states did not sign off.

Three governors who recognized School Choice Week last year–Alabama’s Robert Bentley, Idaho’s Butch Otter, and Utah’s Gary Herbert–have yet to make a proclamation this year. None of the three offices immediately returned our request for comment.

The full list of states officially recognizing National School Choice Week: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin.

Kevin Palmer

Staff writer at Franklin Center. Contact me at kevin@watchdogwire.com

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