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MLK's unfinished legacy and the fight for school choice

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 21, 2013 09:17 AM

In so many ways, the dream is still far from reality. I’ve said before that one of the areas of American life where Martin Luther King’s vision remains unfulfilled is public education. Teachers’ unions and government school protectionists have stood in the schoolhouse door, blocking innovation, competition, and parental choice — leaving minority children and their families to languish in some of the country’s worst schools.

School choice is a civil rights issue, if not the civil rights issue of the 21st century in America.

Americans of all backgrounds, colors, and political parties will unite across the country next week to mark National School Choice Week. Watch:

National School Choice Week provides an unprecedented opportunity, every January, to shine a spotlight on the need for effective education options for all children.

Planned by a diverse and nonpartisan coalition of individuals and organizations, National School Choice Week features special events and activities that highlight support for school choice programs and proposals. The effort is a collaboration of more than 200 partner organizations, which each use the week to advance their own messages of educational opportunity while uniting with like-minded organizations across the country.

National School Choice Week believes that parents should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children and supports a variety of school choice options — from encouraging increased access to great public schools, to public charter schools, magnet schools, virtual schools, private schools, homeschooling and more.

NSCW is sponsoring a whistle-stop tour across the country to raise awareness about parental choice and academic excellence. Help spread the word and become a part of the movement!

“Just as whistle-stop tours were used to promote civil rights like women’s suffrage to the end of racial segregation, the National School Choice Week ‘Special’ will draw attention to the great civil rights fight of the 21st century: school choice for all Americans regardless of their race, income, zip code or learning ability,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week.

Throughout the tour, thousands of concerned citizens are expected to rally at special events that will feature speeches by students who are succeeding in school choice programs, parents, national education reform leaders and elected officials. The tour includes major whistle-stop events in the following cities:

— Los Angeles, CA (Friday, Jan. 25)

— Albuquerque, NM (Saturday, Jan. 26)

— Topeka, KS (Monday, Jan. 28)

— Kansas City, MO (Monday, Jan. 28)

— Chicago, IL (Tuesday, Jan. 29)

— Milwaukee, WI (Wednesday, Jan. 30)

— South Bend, IN (Wednesday, Jan. 30)

— Toledo, OH (Thursday, Jan. 31)

— Cleveland, OH (Thursday, Jan. 31)

— Erie, PA (Thursday, Jan. 31)

— Buffalo, NY (Friday, Feb. 1)

— Rochester, NY (Friday, Feb. 1)

— Albany, NY (Friday, Feb. 1)

— New York, NY (Saturday, Feb. 2)

Beyond the whistle-stop tour, National School Choice Week 2013 will feature more than 3,500 events organized by students, parents and community leaders across all 50 states.

The Week focuses on six educational choices designed to help children secure the education that is right for them. Those choices include: high-performing traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, digital learning and home schooling.

“These are the kinds of educational options we want for all children,” Campanella said.

“School choice helped open the door to a brighter future for my son, Gabriel,” said Valerie Evans, a school choice mom. “School choice is a lifesaver for my child and ensures he will be in a safe environment first and foremost. It means he can now be educated in an environment that is not only safe, but he will get the education he needs and deserves. Without a quality education from grade school, he won’t have the foundation he needs to get into college, graduate and be a success.”

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