President Trump on Monday declared the week of Jan. 22 to be "National School Choice Week," touting what his administration has done over the past year to give American families more control over their children's educational options.
"My administration is refocusing education policy on students. We are committed to empowering those most affected by school choice decisions and best suited to direct taxpayer resources, including states, local school boards, and families," Trump said, adding that the White House has taken several steps toward "a future of unprecedented educational attainment and freedom of choice."
The proclamation comes on the heels of the one-year anniversary of Trump's inauguration and hours after the federal government was set to reopen following a two-day shutdown.
Trump proposed implementing a $20 billion school voucher program during his presidential run, with the goal of helping 11 million underprivileged children afford better schools in their respective areas. The president asked for $168 million in additional spending for charter schools and $250 million for a private school choice program in his administration's budget proposal last March, in addition to calling for an unprecedented investment in school choice initiatives.
"School choice helps alleviate common hindrances to success and creates the space necessary for students' aspirations to flourish," Trump said Monday, noting that "29 of the 31 empirical studies on the topic find that freedom of school choice improves the performance of nearby public schools."
The school choice week proclamation began in 2011, under the Obama administration. According to one education watchdog, an estimated 6.7 million people will participate in school choice celebrations across the U.S. by the end of this week.