Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wall Street Journal Calls out Louisiana Teachers Unions for Bullying

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal mirrored our argument that teachers unions in Louisiana are flat-out bullying schools in a letter sent to private schools planning to participate in the statewide voucher program set to begin in the fall:

“[T]he unions have already lost several court bids to delay the voucher program until the lawsuit plays out. Hence, the bullying.”

In ‘Whatever Means Necessary,’ the editorial board rightly points out that not only do vouchers work, but there is overwhelming demand in the Bayou State:

Demand for vouchers has been overwhelming: There were 10,300 applications for 5,600 slots. Despite claims to the contrary by school-choice opponents, low-income parents can and do act rationally when it comes to the education of their children.


The unions claim that vouchers don't benefit students, but we know from school-choice programs in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that voucher recipients attend safer schools and enjoy higher graduation rates than their peers in public schools.

Most poignant is the real reason that unions support that status quo and oppose vouchers, according to The Wall Street Journal:

The real reason that unions oppose vouchers has nothing to do with the impact on students and everything to do with the impact on teachers unions. The Louisiana Association of Educators doesn't want students taught by nonunion teachers—even if that means suing in court to make it illegal for a kid in a failing school to attend another school where he might learn something.

We must stop bullying and we must put our children first when it comes to education policy—and the voucher program does just that.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Friday, July 27, 2012

Louisiana's Real Bullying Problem

Celebrities from Lady Gaga to Taylor Swift to Justin Timberlake have spoken out against bullying in schools. But what if the schools themselves—not to mention low-income families trying to provide a better education for their children—were actually the ones being bullied?

That just may be the case in Louisiana

Despite a state appeals court ruling 2-1 to uphold the decision by the lower court to let the voucher program continue, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) apparently wasn’t satisfied.

So they threatened to sue.  Since they are already suing the state for passing a sweeping statewide expansion of the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program—which allows children from low-income families attending failing schools to access an education at the school of their parents’ choice—the LAE is threatening to sue schools for accepting the scholarship money that helps children access a high-quality education.

Why threaten participating schools?

According to LAE attorney Brian Blackwell:
"The real concern is with the schools that paltry financial resources and then who receive the money and then spend it will not have the ability to repay it if the program ultimately is declared unconstitutional."
So it’s not about children; it’s about money.

And LAE President Joyce Haynes reiterated the importance of stopping funding  from following the child, when she said “we deserve that money so we can have better public schools.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Accountability in the Bayou State

Earlier this year, Louisiana expanded its voucher program statewide, allowing students from low-income families attending low-performing public schools to get a scholarship to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.  The program received overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature.  

But the support from families was even stronger. For the 2012-13 school year, more than 10,300 applications were submitted to the state Department of Education for a chance for a voucher. The Department of Education has announced that 5,600 students—including 1,700 renewing students from Orleans Parish—have been granted a voucher so far.  More scholarships are likely to be approved in the coming weeks.

And this week, the accountability standards for the voucher program have been approved by the state board of education.  The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 9-2 to adopt the accountability provisions proposed by state Superintendent John White.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu praised the state board for adopting accountability provisions, writing:

"I am encouraged by the criteria's strong emphasis on public reporting of performance data and the fact that there are consequences for nonpublic schools scoring below an established cutoff point."

The American Federation for Children strongly believes that strong academic, financial, and administrative accountability standards are integral to the success of private school choice programs.  The most effective programs across the nation—in Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and Florida—are also the programs with the strongest accountability provisions.

Luckily for students in the Bayou State, Superintendent of Education John White believes in strong accountability standards.  In an editorial published this week, White wrote:

But empowerment is just half of the equation. On the other side is an equally important concept: accountability. To be clear, I mean accountability not in the sense of more rules and regulations from Baton Rouge and Washington. I mean accountability for outcomes and achievement. I mean accountability for producing results. Empowered people, close to children, accountable for results: That’s a formula for improvement.


And as the [voucher] program expands statewide, it is important that the program and its schools be fully accountable for student achievement and for responsible use of the public dollar. That is why today the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will vote on a plan for academic and operations accountability for private schools running scholarship programs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Parent Trigger Premieres in Adelanto, not Hollywood

While Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis may be playing the roles of parents taking action to close failing schools on film, it's a group of parents in Adelanto, California who are actually doing it in real life.

A California judge ruled that parents of students attending Desert Trails Elementary School had met the requirements under California’s revolutionary parent trigger law—a law championed by former state Senator Gloria Romero that allows parents to petition a poorly performing school to close.  Under the law, if 51 percent of parents sign a valid petition, the school must undergo major reforms including reopening as a charter school or sending students to different public and private schools, through school vouchers. And while California might be the first state where parents have moved to reform a school, parent trigger laws also exist in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The Adelanto Elementary school district serves more than 8,000 students24.8 percent of whom live in poverty and 81.6 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch.  Reuters reports that only one in four students are proficient in math, reading, and writing when they graduate.  In math, only 10 percent of eighth graders are proficient.

Education reformers around the country have talked about enacting the legislation and whether it’s a good idea.  But now, we’re going to see if students attending Desert Trail Elementary School in Adelanto will perform better as a charter school or using scholarships to attend other schools.

“This is a huge milestone in our struggle for our children to receive the basic education they are entitled to and deserve,” said Doreen Diez, a parent who led the petition charge.

School Choice Now! and families across the country will keep watch on the developments in Adelanto. It will be exciting to see the transformations in the lives of the students thanks to parent empowerment.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Monday, July 23, 2012

In D.C., It's Still Students and Parents Who Matter Most

While U.S. News and World Report might be famous for its rankings of the nation’s higher education institutions, the news magazine also follows K-12 education policy news.  Check out this great opinion piece focusing on the value of students and parents in education reform.

The piece specifically recounts the success of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, using some of the program’s strongest selling points, including:

  • 91 percent of students who used their scholarships graduated high school, more than 21 percentage points higher than those who did sought out but did not receive a scholarship
  • More than 10,000 D.C. families have applied for the program since it began in 2004
  • More than 92 percent of participating students would otherwise attend a school deemed in need of improvement
Take a look at the full piece below:

In Washington there are two competing visions of what constitutes good education policy. One, held by some in the Obama administration and the entrenched education establishment, is system-based, with its emphasis placed on adults and support for the status quo, rather than the students. The other, which has been embraced by education reformers in both parties, focuses on students and parents in the quest to provide a quality learning experience that will prepare people to compete for jobs in the global marketplace.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the ongoing battle over the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarships Program, a federal program that provides funding to allow a small number of Washington, D.C. parents—participating families have an average income of less than $24,000 per year—to send their children to many high-caliber schools—public, private, or parochial.

In the eight years since the program began, more than 10,000 D.C. families have tried to get their children a scholarship—with demand far exceeding supply. More than 92 percent of participating students, say those who have looked at the data, would otherwise be in a school in need of improvement.  And no wonder: The D.C. public schools are considered by many to be among the worst in the nation, not to mention more expensive than most on a per pupil basis.

The program has been a great success. The Institute of Education Sciences says that 91 percent of students who used their opportunity scholarships graduated high school—21 percent higher than those who applied but were not awarded a scholarship.  In fact, said the institute, the D.C. program had the second highest achievement impact of any it studied so far.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Echoes of Support for School Choice, Disappointment in Setbacks

You'll recall that, last month, we decried another setback of the Opportunity Scholarship Act in New Jersey, and it turns out that we're far from the only ones who were upset about the inability of the legislature to pass school choice legislation. 

In a letter to the editor appearing in the Courier Post, a Voohees, N.J., resident echoed the same frustration shared by advocates around the state:  political games are blocking a bipartisan bill that could help thousands of Garden State children.

Published yesterday in the Courier Post, one school choice supporter wrote:

The parents of children in Camden and several other cities in New Jersey can thank Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, D-Essex, for keeping their children trapped in failing schools for yet another year.

The Opportunity Scholarship Act would have created a corporate scholarship tax credit program for students from low-income families in failing school districts to attend public or private schools of their parents’ choice.

The bill had strong bipartisan support and more than enough votes to pass in both the Assembly and the Senate, which is why Oliver obstinately refused to post the bill for a vote.

Another legislative session ends. Another opportunity for urban kids to succeed dies.

What constituency are you protecting, Mrs. Oliver? The teachers’ unions? The entrenched educational bureaucracy? It certainly isn’t poor, minority children of this state desperately in need of access to a quality education.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Editorial: Dismantling Voucher Program would be Detrimental to Students and Broader Education in the Sooner State

“Opposition to state scholarships for children with special needs may have a far-reaching, negative impact,” writes the editorial board in yesterday’s edition of The Oklahoman.  The editorial is citing a court case brought on by special interests against the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, a small voucher program for students with special needs.

Signed into law by Democratic Governor Henry and named after his daughter, who died as an infant, the program allows students with special needs to attend the private school of their parent’s choice.  After enrolling just 10 students in the program’s first year, 160 students participated during the 2011-12 school year.  Across the nation, 11 private school choice programs specifically designed for children with special needs serve nearly 30,000 students in nine states.

Yesterday’s editorial chastises the two school districts that sued parents participating in the program for trying to dismantle the program and uphold the status quo.  In addition to the scholarship program helping students with special needs access an education that meets their educational needs, the program has larger implications in the state’s education policy.

Under a higher education program, the Oklahoma Tuition Equalization Grant (OTEG) program, thousands of students from low-income families attend universities in the state—including Oklahoma City University and the University of Tulsa—using the same ideas behind the voucher program: students should attend the school that best meets their educational needs—public or private.  Under both OTEG and the special needs voucher program, students can attend either a secular or non-secular school.  Which brings up  a contradiction seen throughout the education policy world: How can one support pell grants—or scholarships for students in college, but not vouchers—or scholarships for students in grades K-12?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For Famed Washington Post Columnist, Choice Words on School Choice

Former Washington Post columnist William Raspberry died today of prostatecancer at the age of 76.  A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote for The Washington Post for more than 40 years on social issues including race, education, and poverty, Raspberry was the second-ever nationally-syndicated black columnist upon his ascension to the position in 1996.

Raspberry’s most famous columns recounted his views of black families, black communities, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Less known, but still significant for the readers of the more than 200 papers around the nation that published his columns, were Raspberry’s view on school choice.

Having written dozens of columns and editorials on school choice, here are some of his most memorable statements on vouchers for children from low-income families:

“And the question that won’t go away is: If choice is good for middle-class children, why is it bad for poor children, who without some sort of subsidy, may find themselves stuck in underperforming schools.”
September 2003

“As a middle-class parent whose children attend public and private schools, I can’t see anything particularly noble about denying that same choice to children who are poor.”
September 2003

“For some years, I’ve been having my own private wrestling match over school vouchers—supporting the expansion of choices to parents who had two few, and worrying over the prospect of draining even more support from our troubled public schools.

Today, I want you to listen to the mental wrestlings of man who has arrived solidly on the pro-voucher side of the issue.”
August 2001

"My point in the present case, though, is the dead certainty on the part of teachers unions and other liberal groups that vouchers cannot possibly improve education for poor children. It's almost as though they'd rather be certain than try it - even in just three or four cities."
April 2000

"If I find myself slowly morphing into a supporter of charter schools and vouchers, it isn't because I harbor any illusions that there's something magical about these alternatives. It is because I am increasingly doubtful that the public schools can do (or at any rate will do) what is necessary to educate poor minority children."
June 1998

"Look at it from the viewpoint of those parents who grab so avidly for the chance to get their children into better schools: Should they be required to keep their children in dreadful schools in order to keep those schools from growing even worse? Should they be made to wait until we get around to improving all the public schools? . . . Surely voucher opponents cannot believe the logic of their counterargument: that if you can't save everybody -- whether from a burning apartment house, a sinking ship or a dreadful school system -- it's better not to save anybody at all."
March 1998

“When Ted Forstmann and John Walton put up $6 million of their own money to provide scholarships for low-income parents who wanted their children out of the District of Columbia public schools, there were 7,573 applications—about a tenth of the total public school enrollment.

These parents...constitute 7,573 rebuttals to whatever anti-voucher case you care to make.”
—March 1998

“I recently declared myself a reluctant convert to school “choice,” a declaration that has dismayed some supporters of public education and cheered some opponents of what they are pleased to call ‘government schools.’

At the risk of dismaying both these camps—and perhaps some others as well—let me try to express more clearly the sad conclusion I’ve reached: It’s time for some serious experimentation.”
June 1997

“For most of us who buy public education, there is no elsewhere.  It’s like it or lump it, and millions of our children are taking their lumps everyday”
August 1975

Looking at Raspberry's views in the past, and the solidly pro-voucher stance he took in recent years, is simply the latest example that for many folks, this is an issue for which there is room for growth. As we mourn Raspberry's loss and reflect on his remarkable career, we ask that you keep that in mind -- the fight to bring educational options to low-income families exists everywhere.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Friday, July 13, 2012

Organizations Continue Fighting Back in Defense of Louisiana Voucher Program

Check out this video from WFAB in Baton Rouge, which not only highlights the importance of the Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence program -- the recently-expanded, statewide voucher program -- but also our friends the Black Alliance for Educational Options, who have fought for expanded school choice in the Bayou State for years. It also gives a well-deserved shout out to the Institute for Justice, the organization that is working hard to defeat special interests who are determined to use the legal process to deny families the right to choose their education.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice

Voucher Program in India: Both a Model and an Academic Success

Last year we told you about a small-scale voucher program that helps children from low-income families in India, and thanks to some new research, the program is not only demonstrating academic success, but it’s getting the praise of an unexpected neighbor.

In 2009, the Delhi school voucher project was started as a pilot program to help girls from low-income families attend private schools by covering tuition, fees, books, travel, and uniform costs all for 3,600 rupees—or about $65.  Run by the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), the program has helped more than 400 students in Delhi attend the school of their parents’ choice. 

A new report from the Centre for Media Studies shows voucher recipients as performing better than their counterparts in government schools and on par with students from private schools in all grades.

The study measured 371 voucher participants, 371 students in private schools, and 371 students in government schools in the subjects of math, English, and Hindi. And according to Shantanu Gupta of CCS, more than 50 percent of students would return to government schools—or even stop attending school altogether—if the program is discontinued.

And India isn’t the only nation watching the academic success of this pilot program.  At a private school in north-east Delhi, a group of education activists from India and Pakistan came together to speak about the school voucher program.

Tajamul Hanif, of the National Commission for Human Development in Pakistan, praised the program and the positive effects that vouchers can have in Pakistan.  And while India and Pakistan may not agree on a whole host of other issues, they do seem to come together on the important issue of providing educational options to disadvantaged children.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Study Shows Support for School Choice, Accountability, and Teachers

Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Mississippi recently measured support for education reform—including school choice—by both the general public and teachers, according to newly-released data. Published in The Forum, researchers (including Paul E. Peterson of Harvard University, who spoke at the AFC 2012 National Policy Summit) found that 70 percent of the general public supported various types of educational options.

In the realm of school choice, 70 percent of the general public support allowing scholarship tax credit programs and charter schools to operate.  And a majority of respondents support vouchers and half support means-tested vouchers.  Teachers also responded favorably to school choice options, with a majority of teachers supporting scholarship tax credit programs, charter schools, and online education.  According to the study, parents support school choice more than non-parents when it comes to vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs, charter schools, and online courses.

And here's a finding that we're especially excited to see: Democrats and Republicans had no statistical difference in their support of school choice options—and both equally supporting scholarship tax credit programs.

In addition, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to support school choice than whites.  Supporting that recent finding are results from a poll released earlier this year from the American Federation for Children and the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options showing that education ranks as the second-most important issue to Latino voters in the upcoming presidential election.  The poll also showed that a total of 85 percent of voters and 91 percent of Latinos think vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs should be available in some form, while majorities of likely voters and Latinos also support specific school choice proposals as well. 

But school choice isn’t the only area that showed interesting results.  According to the study, the general public strongly supports accountability.  When asked about requiring annual testing, 88 percent of the general public supported the idea. 

The study also looked at general views of teachers.  And the results are just what one would expect: teachers are, rightly, held in high regard.  The authors write:

It is not only in the movies that educators are beloved.  Unlike lawyers, bankers, used-car dealers, and state legislators, teachers maintain a superb reputation.  We all remember at least one who had a decisively positive impact on our lives.  We see them as selfless members of a helping profession.  Most Americans say that teachers have “very great prestige,” an accolade otherwise given by a majority of the public only to firefighters, scientists, doctors, nurses, and military officers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Athletes for Education Reform

Last night in Los Angeles, the American Federation for Children partnered with the Professional Sports Wives Association and Jalen Rose, retired NBA star and founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, to host an event for current and former athletes and their families on the importance of education reform. 

AFC Senior Advisor Kevin P. Chavous spoke to a crowd of about 80 people on the impact that just one person can have on their community, and specifically in the life of an underprivileged child. The event, “Giving Kids Hope: Addressing the Education Crisis in Our Communities,” was held in downtown Los Angeles in conjunction with the ESPY Awards, which air tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ESPN.

Along with remarks by Kevin P. Chavous, Rose spoke to the crowd and challenged them to make a difference in the lives of their communities, specifically through education reform. As a national spokesperson for the fight to give children from low-income families access to quality educational options, as well as the founder of a charter school, Rose explained the impact his work has had on thousands of children in the Detroit area.

Watch the video below to hear from other athletes about the importance of school choice in the lives of families:

Rose also reminded the crowd that families are most likely only given educational options when they have the necessary income to afford those options. He said his goal, however, is to promote ways for children from all backgrounds and household income levels to succeed in their education.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Louisiana Judge Allows Expanded Voucher Program to Proceed with August Enrollment

We've got great news from Louisiana: Judge Tim Kelley today ruled that the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program, which was expanded statewide earlier this year and faces several lawsuits from opponents to education reform, will be allowed to proceed in August.  The judge ruled against an injunction, citing a state law that says injunctions cannot be implemented if it would cause a budget deficit in a state agency, according to the Baton Rouge Business Report.

This is a minor sigh of relief for many Louisiana families, who will now be able to send their children to the school of their choice in August.  While the lawsuit is moving forward, the Institute of Justice—representing parents, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and our sister organization the Alliance for School Choice—will defend this vital program.

School Choice Now! will keep you updated on all the legal happenings as advocates work to protect the expanded Student Scholarships for Education Excellence program.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Monday, July 9, 2012

Opponents to Education Reform are at it…Again

Families across Louisiana celebrated a legislative victory earlier this year thanks to a bipartisan coalition in the state legislature and the strong leadership of Governor Bobby Jindal. Together, they expanded New Orleans’ voucher program statewide, making almost 400,000 additional families eligible for school choice.  Later this week, we'll get official numbers as to how many of those families followed up and applied to participate in the program; early estimates put the number in the thousands. 

But not everyone was happy.  Opponents—including teachers unions and local school boards—are focused on maintaining the status quo.  They decried the expanded program, and, instead of focusing on giving all children an education that is tailored to their needs, they sued, wanting the court system to disband this program.  

But the Institute for Justice (IJ), a national civil liberties law firm has filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuits against the program.  Representing parents, the Alliance for School Choice, and the Black Alliance for Educational Options, IJ has a long track record of defending—and winning—these cases. 

Preventing disadvantaged children from accessing a quality education is shameful.  And AFC Senior Advisor Kevin Chavous, who has worked in the state for years building legislative support for private school choice, echoed that sentiment:
The demand for this program has been demonstrated by the thousands of Louisiana families pleading for more educational options not only in New Orleans, but across the entire state.  We’re confident that IJ’s strong legal presence will prevail for those families seeking the quality educational options their children have long deserved.
More than 380,000 students are eligible to participate under the expanded Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence program, which is designed to help students from low-income backgrounds who attend persistently poor-performing public schools.  In the 2011-12 school year, more than 1,800 students living in Orleans Parish participated in the program.

Check out a release from the Alliance for School Choice on we're standing with IJ, BAEO, and parents from across the state.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Friday, July 6, 2012

Georgia Department of Revenue Shows Growth in School Choice Program

The Georgia Department of Revenue last week released updated information (PDF) on its scholarship tax credit program.  Originally enacted in 2008, the program has grown from serving 3,000 students in the 2009-10 school year to more than 10,000 students this past school year.  In fact, the state Department of Revenue reports that 11,292 scholarships were awarded to eligible students in 2011-12!

More than 17,000 individuals and 196 businesses donated more than $47 million dollars to the program, resulting in $39,456,599 in scholarships awarded.

Check out all of the numbers:

Total Contributions
Individual Contributions
Corporate Contributions

Total Donated to Student Scholarship Organizations
Individual Donations
Corporate Donations

Total Value of Scholarships Awarded
Total Scholarships Award
Average Scholarship

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day from AFC & ASC!

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united State of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”

As our nation comes together to celebrate our independence and freedom, we must remember that all Americans have in the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

On this national holiday, the American Federation for Children celebrates not only our freedom, but the right of every child in America to access a high-quality education that will transform his or her life.

From everyone at the American Federation for Children, Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Congratulations to Rev. Reginald T. Jackson!

AFC Senior Advisor Kevin P. Chavous greets Rev. Reginald T. Jackson
 on May 3, 2012 at the 2012 National Policy Summit in Jersey City, N.J.
The American Federation for Children today congratulated Reverend Reginald T. Jackson, pastor of the St. Matthew African Methodist Episcopal Church in Orange, N.J. and longtime supporter of school choice options, on being elected bishop.

In 1981, Rev. Jackson became pastor at St. Matthew’s, where more than 3,000 people have joined the church under his tenure.  In addition to leading his church, Jackson is the executive director of the Black Ministers’ Council of New Jersey, which represents hundreds of black churches in New Jersey.

Speaking at both the American Federation for Children’s 2011 and 2012 National Policy Summits, Reverend Jackson has for decades stood for educational options for disadvantaged children.

Here he is at our 2011 Summit:

He made one of the great arguments for school choice while at our Summit:

“There is nothing more important than a quality education…A quality education is essential. Without a good education, you’re not going to be able to get a good job.  Without a good job, you are not going to be able to provide for yourself and your family. When you can’t provide for yourself and your family, families break up. When families break up, social and community problems increase.  When social and community problems increase, we build more prisons and we have more funerals. A quality education is absolutely critical.”

Rev. Jackson serves as the Executive Director of the Black Ministers’ Council of New Jersey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Essex County College, member of the Board of Education of the Orange Public Schools, board member of the United Way, the Newark Alliance, and a member of the NAACP. He received a B.A. from Delaware State University and a Master of Divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center.

To Reverend Jackson, community and spiritual leader, for your strong support for bringing school choice to New Jersey and ensuring that every child has access to educational options, congratulations on this great honor!

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG