Georgia Charter Schools Association
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Celebrities lend star power to school choice rally

ATLANTA, GA (January 29) – A women’s basketball titan and a celebrity White House chef are sharing their star power with the fourth annual Georgia School Choice Celebration and Rally, which will draw a crowd of more than 2,000 people to the state Capitol this week.
 
Former WNBA star, Lisa Leslie, a four-time Olympic Gold medalist, will travel to Atlanta to be guest speaker of the School Choice Rally Thursday at 10 a.m.  The event, which will be held outside of the Georgia State Capitol, is being hosted by the Center for an Educated Georgia.
 
The rally is part of a national campaign to focus attention on improving educational options for kids during School Choice Week, which ends Sunday. The rally will attract students from nearly two dozen public, private, home and cyber schools across Georgia.
 
The crowd will urge lawmakers to continue to fund and support programs that expand school choice in the state.
 
Leslie, a public school graduate, will lend her voice to the call for more educational opportunities. The three-time WNBA most valuable player believes that all students deserve access to good schools despite their family income.
 
“The world is a competition and our kids need the best education to compete,” Leslie said.
 
A state legislator who also will speak at the rally will announce a new plan that could help more needy and middle income Georgia families afford private schools.
 
Approximately 280,000 Georgia students are being educated outside of their neighborhood schools. Some are attending private schools while others are enrolled in public charter schools, career academies, and home schools.
 
Students who take an active role in the rally will have a chance to win a special prize for their entire school – a personal visit and catered lunch by celebrity chef Walter Scheib.
 
Scheib, an author and expert chef, spent 11 years in the White House kitchen as chef. He was hired in 1994 by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton to serve as chef during the Bill Clinton administration. He remained in the job during the George W. Bush presidential administration. Scheib has prepared delicacies for heads of nations.   
 
The Center for an Educated Georgia has developed a list of criteria that must be met by schools to qualify for the “Presidential Treatment” raffle prize. Students at the rally must show school spirit, meet with their  legislators after the event and complete other tasks. For more information on the raffle rules, visit www.schoolchoicerally.com. The prize winner will be announced on Feb. 14 at www.educatedgeorgia.org.
 
Thursday’s rally will celebrate the November passage of the Georgia Charter Schools Amendment as proof that parents across the state want more school choice.
 
Parents who exercise school choice often move their children out of assigned neighborhood public schools for a variety of reasons. Some select schools that offer accelerated academic curriculum; smaller class sizes; moral and religious teachings; laptops and iPads for K-12 kids; environments where bullying is less likely; and campuses that focus on teaching students with disabilities.
 
Event organizers will challenge legislators to continue to empower parents to select their children’s schools.
 
“We are excited about the steps Georgia has taken to improve school choice, but the state still needs to make more progress in this area,” said Danielle LeSure, Ph.D., Director of the Center for an Educated Georgia.  “We want Georgia to become a state where parents have greater authority and financial assistance to choose the schools that are right for the individual needs of their children.”
 
For more information on the rally, visit www.schoolchoicerally.com or www.educatedgeorgia.org.
 
 
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