Hundreds of Montana students, parents, and educators in showing support for school choice at the Montana Capitol building at noon on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Speakers at the event will include Rep. Seth Berglee, Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, Rep. Bill Mercer, and community leaders such as Jeff Laszloffy, President and CEO of the Montana Family Foundation.

“The school choice movement is now a national movement,” said Laszloffy. “During school choice week last year there were over 3,000 separate rallies held across the United States, and several of those were in Montana. In the years when the legislature is in session we always hold our rally on the steps of the Capitol in Helena.”

Laszloffy said there will be representatives from several different educational organizations.

“There will be students there from private schools and home schools,” he said. “There will also be public officials including state senators and representatives and even the head of the office of public instruction. The reason why school choice is so important is because we have over 1,500 students drop out of public schools every year because of one reason or another the traditional public school setting just isn’t working for them.”

Laszloffy pointed to success in school choice in other states.

“Other states are far ahead of Montana in the school choice movement and they’re seeing great results,” he said. “Kids that for one reason or another don’t fit in the traditional public school model are able to stay in school in an alternative setting and actually thrive. We call it finding their perfect educational fit.”

Laszloffy said the primary opposition to school choice comes from publicly funded schools and their teachers unions.

“The public schools, the teachers unions, the school, districts and superintendents, they all fight like cats and dogs to make sure the students don’t leave the public side and go to the private side,” he said. “The problem is that over 1,500 students a year just drop out of school because they don’t have the opportunity for a school setting that works for them.”

The rally will be Thursday, January 24 at the State Capitol building at noon on Thursday, Jan. 24.

More From KMPT-AM