by Peter Franzen
CEAM, Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA), Show-Me Institute and StudentsFirst collaborated to produce an awesome National School Choice Week (NSCW) in Missouri this year.
A big part of the success was due to a change in tactics by the NSCW organization who contacted the Missouri organizations last fall to solicit input from those of us in the state working on school choice and education reform issues.
Together we agreed on this year’s theme of “School Choice: Let Me Be Me.” The events were planned to help people see the many faces of, and reasons behind, school choice.
Together our four organizations planned three events that happened last week in Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Saint Louis.
Kansas City and Saint Louis were the larger events. Both were breakfast events from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. In each city a panel of students who have all made an educational choice presented their stories. THEY WERE GREAT! CEAM was able to call on existing relationships in Kansas City and MCPSA called on its charter school members in the KC area.
For the student panels, each student was given a few minutes to tell their story and then James Schuls (now at UMSL, formerly at Show-Me) moderated a discussion. Each of the young people not only made a compelling case for choice, they helped put a face on choice that was powerful.
Kansas City and Saint Louis each had student performances from local charter schools.
In Jefferson City the format was different, but still effective. There we were able to meet in the House Lounge. We were there for an hour as individual legislators came through and spoke with our two Saint Louis students. This as the Missouri legislature considers major education legislation sparked by the 2013 Missouri Supreme Court ruling upholding a law that allows students to transfer out of unaccredited districts.
The student panelists were diverse and included examples of private schools, charter schools, magnet schools, and traditional district schools.
About 80 – 100 people attended the two larger events. In Kansas City the event was held at the Kaufman Center and generated a lot of media interest. Three television stations were there and at least two did live feeds during the event. Elisa Crouch of the Post Dispatch represented Saint Louis media at the local event.
Here’s the story she wrote:
Elisa also wrote an article earlier in the week about charter schools:
The Saint Louis event was recorded and we’ll have video to share soon. Thank you to everyone who turned out to show their support of school choice and the compelling student presenters.
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