The Arkansas Parents for School Choice rallied behind House Bill 1897 at the state Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday morning, before the bill failed in a House education committee meeting later in the day.
An official at the Capitol said the bill failed in a voice vote and was referred to an interim study.
The bill would have created a scholarship program that would allow parents to choose whether their children attend public or private school.
Rep. Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, who sponsored the legislation, spoke briefly to supporters at the rally.
Rep. Randy Alexander, R-Fayetteville, who sponsored the legislation, spoke briefly before the room of supporters.
Alexander said school choice was one of the most important issues before the state.
"The voice of parents has been replaced by experts," Alexander said. "But I believe when you're speaking to a parent, you're speaking to the leading expert on that particular child."
Alexander said that since tax dollars fund public schools, parents should have the right to choose how their money is spent, and what school their children attend.
The Arkansas Parents for School Choice group said in a news release Monday that it believes parents in Arkansas should be able to choose among public, charter, magnet, alternative and private schools, along with the option of home schooling.
Experts have debated the effectiveness of some of the options, including charter schools. A 2009 study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University showed that Arkansas was in the top five states that saw higher learning in charter schools than would have occurred in public schools.
The study also concluded that at a nationwide level, charter schools were not performing better than public schools.
After the short rally, several parents and children made their way to the education committee meeting.