In the spirit of the day, I looked for something scary in education to tell you about. But instead of that, I wanted to let you know about an exciting new national group that has formed:
This week a committed group of parents from around the United States officially launched the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) to support and defend public school options in their states and throughout the country.
The group was officially launched during the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) Virtual School Symposium.
“As parents, we want the best possible education for our children,” said Lori Cooney NCPSO president and parent of online public school students in Colorado. “Our founding board believes parents everywhere should have more public school options available to them, and we will help give those parents a voice in their state capitals and in our nation’s capital.”
Cooney joined two other parents to help form the organization: Briana LeClaire from Idaho and Christine Beard from Ohio, both fellow parents whose children are enrolled in online public schools.
The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, the organization will advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.
Colorado’s own Lori Cooney is at the helm of this parent-led, pro-school choice group. Cooney has served as president of the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families. A cyberschool mom, she has been an advocate for protecting the rights and options of students who benefit from an online education program.
The timing is very appropriate. It was almost exactly seven years ago (I wasn’t even around yet!) that Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno published her report saying Colorado needed to “stop the discrimination” in public K-12 online education. Things have gotten better since then, and online education has flourished in our state. But significant challenges certainly remain for those who seek the free and equal opportunity to send their children to an online school.
Therefore, it’s good to see that cyberschool students nationwide – in fact, all students who exercise public school choice – will have a strong advocate from right here in Colorado. Good luck to NCPSO! And I hope that Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families continues its important work, too.