After School Choice Week, How About Educate the Reporters Week?

Last Friday I was overflowing with enthusiasm at the kickoff of the 5th annual National School Choice Week.

I got even more excited Monday morning for the big Denver celebration at our own State Capitol, where hundreds of school kids and others came to wear their yellow scarves, show their support. There was even some singing and dancing!

I may get even more excited yet when my Independence Institute friends assemble and edit their footage of the rally for a sure-to-be-great video. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, besides the fun of seeing National School Choice Week celebrations grow here in Colorado and nationwide, my big takeaway is the desperate need to educate the media. As a kid who spends too much hanging out in the education policy world, the Fox 31 News story on the School Choice Week rally was painful to watch.

Maybe the problem is the term “school choice” can be used in different contexts. But when you see a news story interchange the general idea of school choice with Denver’s “School Choice” enrollment system and the state education department’s school choice support unit, and suggest that open enrollment allows families to access private schools, you begin to wonder if the confused protesters at the event wrote and produced the news story.

Because the much smaller band of protesters (confused about what they were actually protesting) got an extra share of attention, along with their unsubstantiated rhetoric and arguments. As if they were drinking from the same barrel of Kool-Aid that generates not just inaccurate coverage but also far-fetched bizarre conspiracy theories.

Sigh. Good thing neither of these stories tried to unpack an intriguing new proposal put forward by State Rep. Paul Lundeen that goes beyond “school choice” with an “education debit card.” (Faithful readers have seen me tackle the topic before.)

In other local school choice news today, innovative Falcon 49 school district is a regional leader in attracting families through open enrollment, and according to one prominent source, Colorado slipped from #5 to #6 nationally in the quality of its charter school law.

Once School Choice Week ends and my excitement begins to wane, maybe I will start focusing my attention on Educate the Reporters Week.