The respected Independent Women’s Forum has launched a new “Education Freedom Center” to advance school choice and inform and empower parents about issues related to education.
The center, launched earlier this month by the Washington, D.C.-based national women’s organization, brings a women’s focus to educational freedom. Virginia “Ginny” Gentles, a longtime school choice advocate, is the center’s director.
“The overall goal of the Education Freedom Center (EFC) is to amplify the voices of women, many of whom felt powerless in 2020 when school districts did not open,” Gentles told The Lion. “IWF has recruited education freedom ambassadors – moms who have stories to tell. We are giving parents a platform, providing information and resources and amplifying their voices.”
The EFC will educate the public about school choice policies, share the voices and stories of parents seeking education freedom, and inform parents about existing education options. The EFC also will build awareness of policies that harm students and disempower parents, including lessons and policies based on radical ideologies.
“We are supportive of school choice, and also shining a light on what’s happening in our classrooms,” said Gentles. “That’s what makes us unique. You can’t ignore what’s happening. We need a solution. School choice is the mechanism for making that solution happen.”
At the center’s launch, Gentles outlined the EFC vision that no child should be trapped in a failing system.
The EFC will support policies and legislation that enable parents to take their children’s taxpayer-funded education dollars to the education providers of their choosing, including public, private, charter or home school options.
The EFC website provides links to blog posts, editorials, policy chats and podcasts about relevant issues, and it is designed to become a one-stop shop on how to talk about and advocate for education choice.
“2021 was the ‘year of school choice.’ We’ve never seen anything like it,” Gentles said. “Measures of parental engagement are so high. There is broad support across all political parties, and many organizations advocating for educational freedom, knowing that school choice is the ultimate solution to problems we are seeing in schools today.
“And that’s exciting.”