As advocates across the country prepare for National School Choice Week, an unlikely coalition in support of school choice has emerged, including comedian and longtime education advocate Bill Cosby.
On a conference call to promote next week’s nationwide effort to spotlight effective education options, Independent Women's Forum President Michelle Bernard said the issue unites individuals across the ideological spectrum.
“This is a wide-ranging coalition,” she said. “You have Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, Jews, Christians, Muslims. It’s a wide-ranging community, all of whom believe in children, believe in personal responsibility and believe that every child should have access to the best school they can get to and that parents should have the ability to choose the school that will do the best for their children.”
Cosby joined Bernard on today’s call, along with fellow school choice supporter Imam Earl S. El-Amin and several students who have personally benefited from nontraditional educational options.
“So many things in our world of education happen to be more about grown people knowing that there are problems but not acting like educated grown people and solving them,” Cosby said.
On the other hand, National School Choice Week and the school choice movement, in general, represent an attempt to enable parents to do just the opposite -- to solve problems and to actually act in the best interests of their children.
“Every parent wants to see their child succeed,” charter school graduate Tyron Young said. “It’s mind-boggling … that in the United States, we are not giving parents this option.”
The many organizations that have signed on to promote school choice aim to change that, of course. In the end, Bernard said, the solutions are clear.
“This is about our children,” she said. “National School Choice Week is a question about how much we love our children and the answer is very simple: We love them and we need to let our parents decide which kind of school works best for our children.”
Tina Korbe is a staff writer in the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism outlet at The Heritage Foundation.