The Montana Family Foundation is helping to organize a 'National School Choice Week' rally on the steps of the State Capitol in Helena on Wednesday.

President and CEO of the Montana Family Foundation, Jeff Laszloffy, said the school choice rally will start at noon on Wednesday.

"For National School Choice Week, we've got a rally coming up at noon on Wednesday on the steps of the State Capitol building," Laszloffy said. "There will be kids traveling from all over Montana to attend. We're using that to kick off the legislative session where we'll be promoting more school choice bills in this session and we'll continue to  make inroads so that kids can find their best educational fit."

Laszloffy said the main thrust will be to improve an already existing program.

"Our big efforts will be to make some adjustments to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program that passed in the last session," he said. "We've now had two years to see how that's working, and we need some clean-up language just to make it more user-friendly. We'll also be promoting education savings accounts for children with special needs, and that will enable parents to find a workable solution in the public school system to take the money that would have been spent on that child and go out into the marketplace of options and find something that does work, be it a private tutor, therapy, whatever it takes to get that child the best education possible."

Laszloffy said as of yet, there are no charter schools in Montana.

"Charter schools have been in the U.S. for over 40 years now, and we really know what makes a charter school work and what doesn't," he said. "We've seen some succeed and some fail, and so when we finally get charter schools in Montana, we want to take the very best of the enabling legislation nationwide and craft the perfect charter school law, and let that be the one that's introduced in Montana."

The combined Montana Teachers Union, the MEA-MFT, is opposed to charter schools, stating in a press release that charter schools 'are a back-door approach to privatizing schools for profit.'

The School Choice rally is scheduled for noon on Wednesday in Helena.


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