FEBRUARY 1, 2012

Five things parents can do to improve education for their kids

PHOENIX – National School Choice Week marked the largest celebration of education reform in American history. The governors and state legislatures of 28 states and territories recognized the week, which featured more than 400 events spanning all U.S. States. Events included everything from rallies, to movie screenings, to roundtable meetings and town hall discussions.

Organizers say National School Choice Week, which has reached tens of millions of Americans and introduced millions of citizens to the concept of "school choice," should be a starting point for parents who seek better educational options for their children.

According to Lisa Graham Keegan, a senior advisor to National School Choice Week and the former superintendent of public instruction in Arizona, there are five things parents can do to immediately improve their children's chances of success in their current schools—while researching and demanding other educational options, if necessary:

1. Research your child's school online at www.greatschools.net and learn how your child's school ranks in terms of academic achievement and discover what other parents have to say about the school.

2. Commit to visiting your child's school more often and request more interaction with your child's teachers.

3. If you are unhappy with your child's school, find out if you can switch your child's school by calling your local school district, your state legislators, and the state's department of education. Or, go online to www.SchoolChoiceWeek.com, find organizations that have planned events in your area, and ask for assistance.

4. Look into virtual and digital educational options to augment your child's classroom learning, at home.

5. If you think new programs should be passed to enhance parental choice, write letters to the editor and contact your state leaders by email, fax, mail, and telephone.

Keegan said parents and citizens should also connect with local organizations in their states to demand reform 52 weeks out of the year.

"Parents are the driving force behind increasing the educational options available to children across the country," Keegan said. "So many parents have asked what they can do to help improve the quality of education their children receive. Sometimes it takes some research and telephone calls, and other times it takes visits to the State Capitol building to demand change. Either way, there is no denying that the power of parents has the power to transform our education system for the better."

For more information, visit www.SchoolChoiceWeek.com.