Parental School Choice in Action: Behind the Scenes of Legislative Advocacy Day with Parents and School Leaders
Last week was a beautiful gathering of parents, school leaders, legislators, educators, and supporters of parental school choice. We came together for Legislative Advocacy Day to encourage the expansion of parental school choice through programs like North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program and the Personal Education Student Accounts (ESA+).
PEFNC hosted a trio of school leaders and a pair of parents, all ready to have their voices heard, and we partnered with other organizations, advocates and supporters all standing in unity for parental school choice, and finding more ways in North Carolina to fund students over systems.
"Today, we are here advocating for parents to be able to make the choice of where their children to go to school," says Amy Sparks, Co-Founder of The School of Hope in Fayetteville, a school that specializes in children with Autism.
"It's about their education and meeting the individual needs of all students,” added Sparks.
As the gears of the North Carolina General Assembly steadily turn and develop new legislation, it can be easy for the complications of politics to overshadow the intent behind it. Bringing school leaders and parents to discuss their significant education experiences with legislators was important, and something we are always honored to be a part of at PEFNC.
Simply, the voices of parents, school leaders, and our students must be heard by leaders in Raleigh.
It was satisfying to see the exchange of stories between legislator and advocate, as well as sharing helpful information and answering each other's questions.
Rep. David Willis speaks with school leaders, Amy Sparks and Cheryl Riley, and two parents
"I hope they heard our heart. Our heart is to minister and meet the needs of students," says Cheryl Riley, Principal of Victory Christian Center School of Charlotte. "So as long as education is student-centered and our goal is to meet the needs of students, we are educating the next generation, and we are positioning them to be great in their fields."
After a morning of engaging discussions, the advocates regrouped for lunch to listen to speeches from our school leaders and some North Carolina Legislative Representatives about why we support parental school choice.
"North Carolina is changing. We're moving away from funding educational systems, and we're moving towards funding students," says Brian Jodice, Executive Vice President of Parents of Educational Freedom North Carolina, as he opened the luncheon event. "This is how we ensure that we get education right in our state. We have highly motivated teachers in the classroom, we have parents who are engaged and want to be part of that, and we have students that want to learn."
Amy Sparks, Co-Founder of The School of Hope Fayetteville, NC
“I want to thank each and every one of you today because you do have a voice and you can make a difference,” concludes Amy Sparks after her touching speech.
The events of Legislative Advocacy Day displayed many people of various backgrounds collaborating for the benefit of quality education for all children of North Carolina. While the ball is in the court of our friends in the General Assembly, we patiently wait for the next major step of parental school choice in the legislature.
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You can also watch our video recapping the day as well!