March 5, 2015

Chapter Highlights: National School Choice Week

By: Kathryn Shelton

Four America’s Future Foundation chapters hosted events to celebrate National School Choice Week (January 25th – 31st), a week dedicated to promoting parental choice in education.

NSCW_Logo_HorizontalAFF- SE Michigan Chapter kicked off National School Choice Week with a celebration in Ann Arbor. 20 young professionals attended a networking happy hour at the Wolverine State Brewing Company,  followed by a public policy discussion led by keynote speaker Audrey Spalding, Director of Education Policy at the Mackinac Center. Audrey’s positive remarks focused on the huge strides made in education reform since Michigan enacted  the Schools of Choice law twenty years ago. More than 20% of students in the state take part in the program, which makes quality education available for all families. The event participants then engaged in a discussion about the evaluation of students and schools, and highlighted other events to attend in Michigan during National School Choice Week.

AFF’s newest Indianapolis chapter debuted with a launch event during National School Choice Week, featuring The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice President Robert Enlow. Attendees filled the room at Liberty Street on Massachusetts Ave. to hear Mr. Enlow speak. His remarks focused on the opportunities for students offered by school choice, as well as the steps activists and policy makers alike can take to provide those opportunities to the students of Indiana. Organizers of the event hailed it a success as America’s Future Foundation begins to enter the Indianapolis market with events focused on free market-based networking for young professionals.

The AFF Atlanta Chapter hosted a panel of speakers featuring Mr. Rich Thompson, Mrs. Ana Martin, and Dr. Ben Scafidi to discuss issues in education facing the state and the nation. Rich is the Executive Director of GeorgiaPTO, a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to supporting effective educational opportunities that prepare children for success in college, their careers, and their lives. He began by discussing the advocacy work that his organization performs and  current issues they are facing. Ana is an AFF Atlanta member and a homeschooling mother of two. She discussed her decision to homeschool her children and the experiences that came along with it. . Ben is a professor of economics and director of the Education Economics Center at Kennesaw State University. He discussed the current regulatory environment and upcoming legislative agenda in Georgia, including issues regarding the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program. The panel discussion concluded with an interesting Q&A session with the audience of 30.

The Chicago chapter of AFF held an event featuring Mary McClelland of Stand with Children and Joshua Dwyer of Ed Choice Illinois. With the appointment of former State Senator James Meeks to the post of State Board of Education Chairman, Illinois has an advocate for school choice at the highest level of our state education system for the first time. Both McClelland and Dwyer agreed that increasing school choice is a potential game changer for improving education in Illinois.

Discussing school choice and parental rights with the next generation of parents is crucial to improving America’s school system. Each year, AFF is proud to continue to host events celebrating National School Choice Week.


 Kathryn Shelton is Director of Chapter Advancement for America’s Future Foundation.