National School Choice Week Kicks Off At Jackonville's Florida Theatre

Jan 23, 2015

National School Choice Week kickoff attendees watch a song-and-dance performance on stage at the Florida Theatre.
Credit Saphara Harrell

A national School Choice Week celebration kicked off in Jacksonville today at the Florida Theatre. School Choice Week involves events across the U.S., all touting alternatives to public school.

National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella emceed the event. He says every 26 seconds a child drops out of school , and he believes the statistic highlights the need for more school choices.

"National School Choice Week begins today right here at this event. The week will be the largest series of education-related events in U.S. history," he said. "There will be an unprecedented 11,082 events across the country."

The theatre was packed with nearly 1,900 students, parents and teachers from private and charter schools.

Speakers at the event included Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who appeared via webcam, and the Rev. H.K. Matthews, a civil rights pioneer who marched with Martin Luther King in Montgomery and Selma.

Jennifer Owenby is a parent who was at the event. She says her daughter attends the Florida Virtual School online.

“Everybody either thinks that it’s strictly a private school, which some people can’t afford, or public school, and there’s other choices besides just those two that are out there that the kids can to venture out to,” Owenby says. 

She says the Jacksonville event is an opportunity for her daughter to meet other kids who study at home.