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  • Jul 29 2016

The Next Chapter of Our Story

EdChoice.

It’s a big and powerful idea—and it’s the new name of our organization.

Earlier this year, we announced that we’d be changing our brand to celebrate our past and better reflect the future, and we’re excited to begin the next chapter.

Our new mission is simple and bold: We are champions of choice who believe that empowering all families with full and unencumbered educational choice is the best pathway to successful lives and a stronger society.

How is that different than the past? Easy. We’ve done a lot in 20 years. When we started, there were only five educational choice programs serving fewer than 10,000 students. Today, there are 61 programs in 30 states and the District of Columbia serving more than 400,000 students.

But the choices are not equal, and they are certainly not big enough. It’s time to do more.

We don’t just want more choice, we want better and bigger choice. And using what we already know works, we will usher in a new era of educational choice programs built to serve every student and ensure that all families have the opportunity and access to schooling that meets their needs.

It won’t be easy. We know that. Big, systemic change never is. But we also know that the more parents have access to educational choice, the more they want it. We’ve made a promise to this generation and future generations, and there’s just no going back to the days where we claimed victory for any school choice program, even if it served less than 1,000 children.

 

WHAT WE BELIEVE

Although we will no longer be using their name, we will never lose sight of universal school choice as the intellectual legacy of Milton and Rose D. Friedman. We have been honored to be their legacy foundation during the last 20 years and to be the nation’s only organization solely dedicated to promoting their concept of educational choice.

We believe that government has a responsibility to educate the public, but that doesn’t mean writing every child a mandatory prescription for “public school” as it’s been defined over the past 60 years.

That decision should be up to parents, who now have more options than ever before thanks to new school types, technologies and learning environments.

We trust families to know their kids better than bureaucrats, and we trust that they will invest wisely in their educational futures.

Not only do we believe in our past successes—61 programs in 30 states and the District of Columbia—but we’ve learned from them. Some programs work better than others. Some places are more likely than others to embrace choice.

These experiences have helped shape the EdChoice mission and will define us moving forward.

 

WHO WE ARE

We’re smart, dedicated, intellectually honest and 100 percent committed to full and unencumbered educational choice. Choice for all, not just choice for some!

We’re also unrelenting. Because that’s what it takes to get this job done.

It’s all well and good to sit around talking about educational choice as a goal, and we’ve got high-quality research that backs up our mission. But these programs don’t enact themselves; policymakers need to know what works and what doesn’t. And parents may know they want something different for their kids, but they might not know where to learn more.

EdChoice is not some stuffy think tank, and we’re proud of that.

We know this issue can be controversial. Far too often, the notion that parents should choose the best educational fit for their kids gets turned into a political football instead of a conversation about how we can work together to build a stronger society.

You’ll never catch us shying away from that debate, but we know we can’t win new friends if our tactics alienate those we’ve yet to persuade.

That’s a big part of the reason why our new mission is more clearly defined than ever before.

 

OUR APPROACH

EdChoice will educate and inform.

After 20 years and myriad public policy debates, you might think parents across America know about educational choice, but the truth is we’re barely a generation into the adoption of these programs, and most of them have come online in the last 10 years.

If parents don’t expect full and unencumbered educational choice—complete control over their kids’ schooling—policymakers won’t give it to them. It’s just that simple.

We know these programs work where they’ve been implemented, and we’ll continue to monitor those programs to ensure success. But until more families know they don’t have to accept the status quo, we’ll never get where we need to be.

EdChoice will train and equip.

Policymakers and stakeholders need to understand their benefits and learn how they operate at the nuts-and-bolts level. And parents need the tools to know the issue and go to the Statehouse and demand action for their students. They need to understand that their voices—above all the others—are the most important in this movement.

For too long, those with the most at stake in education have been told to sit down, be quiet and let the professionals handle their kids. Policymakers have similarly been bullied by those who seek to protect and preserve an educational system that has chronically failed a great many of those who most depend on it as their pathway to a successful life.

Those days are over.

We’ll make sure parents and policymakers alike have the skills they need to overcome past hurdles and rise up in support of quality choices for all families.

EdChoice will engage and advance.

We are champions of choice, but we can’t go it alone. All this talk isn’t worth a hill of beans if we don’t continue to challenge the status quo and help enact programs that positively affect the lives of students across the country.

We need your support from your house to the school house to the Statehouse.

Whether you’re a parent or a community leader or policymaker or someone who believes we’ve got a duty to do better for our kids, get on board. Call us for help. Tell us what we can do to support you. Build a coalition in your state. Share our research and come to our trainings.

Whatever you do, don’t give up when things get tough. We know true educational choice faces long odds in places where allegiance to the past comes before serving students. Sometimes, though, a crack in the system is all that’s needed to show parents there’s another, better way.

Thank you, Milton and Rose, for giving us the powerful idea that parents should be in the educational driver’s seat.

The engine is revving. It’s time to buckle up. We’ve only just begun.

Welcome to EdChoice.

  • Chad Addie

    For those engaged in changing the face of education, take heart! There is no question many of us in the trenches in various communities have experienced the very real impact of push back from those entrenched in current traditional systems (i.e. marginalization, loss of jobs, misrepresented, etc). However, for the sake of kids who often have little voice, we must persevere and prevail. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? This is not simply a battle of opinion waged in political diatribe, it has become a moral and civil rights struggle that ALL children are given hope, abundant opportunities and loving relationships to make sense of it all. Authentic reform is rarely initially popular, but essential when it matters so much to those who cannot fend for themselves.

    http://www.bizvoicemagazine.com/index.php/archives/2014/january-february-2014

  • RJDAVISJR

    Robert, we here in SC have been reaching out to Friedman without response. We started and ran the largest school choice SFO in the state accounting for $17 MILLION in scholarships for children with “special needs” … yet Friedman Foundation won’t return a call or email. I love your quote above stating “For too long, those with the most at stake in education have been told to sit down, be quiet and let the professionals handle their kids” … why is FRIEDMAN FOUNDATION doing that to school choice advocates in SC? Why is there seemingly such an agenda to push ESAs and to destroy Tax Credit Scholarships? Will you call me? ANYTIME, WE ARE ON THIS 24/7 … our kids here in SC are suffering!! Thank you. Jeff Davis 843-901-8036 (cell) or jdavis@wtcarolina.org

  • Stephen Masek

    We need to make all schools private. That way all parents will have the freedom to choose fine schools of their choice. There is no “saving” the government schools which spend enormous amounts and produce abysmal results. Of course, we would also cut property and other taxes now going to the expensive government schools, so parents would all be able to afford good private schools. That includes requiring landlords to pass tax reductions along as rent reductions.

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