The school choice movement has been gaining serious traction over the past three years, and if the momentum holds, America might soon see most states funding students instead of systems. The idea that parents should decide where and how their children are educated has been the subject of debate for decades. But now that conversation is intensifying.
School choice was catapulted onto the national stage amid the COVID-19 lockdown when parents discovered what their children’s schools were teaching them. When it became apparent that many of these institutions were indoctrinating students with far-leftist views on race, sexuality, and gender identity, the predictable backlash ensued, with people showing up to school board meetings to protest the problematic material.
States Embracing School Choice
In 2023, several states are set to pass comprehensive school choice legislation that would make it easier for parents to send their kids to private and charter schools. Those who choose to homeschool will have a smoother experience as well if these bills pass.
One of the most highly touted educational measures being considered in many states would create education savings accounts (ESAs), similar to the laws passed in Arizona last year. ESAs are “state-funded accounts for parents who are looking for alternative education options for children besides their local public school,” according to The Hill.
The state would deposit a specific sum of money into the account every year to help parents pay for educational expenses such as private school tuition, tutors, homeschooling resources, and more. Each state pays a different amount. In Arizona, for example, pupils receive up to $7,000 annually. Currently, more than 15 states are considering proposals that would create ESA programs for students, among other provisions designed to help parents exercise more educational options.
After years of trying, Iowa became the first state this year to pass sweeping school choice legislation. In January, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a series of measures, one of which is the establishment of an ESA program that provides funding that can be used for private school tuition. Reynolds, along with Republicans in the state legislature, tried and failed twice to pass this type of legislation. But the third time was the charm. Next up was Utah, the second state to enact a universal school choice program shortly after Iowa. Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed the new legislation, which created a state-funded scholarship program that will grant $8,000 to each student that can be used toward education-related expenses outside of public schools.
Texas, similar to Iowa, has not had an easy time enacting school choice legislation. But now signs are promising. With the current hubbub over education, parents in Texas are demanding better options for their children. GOP Gov. Greg Abbott has expressed support for such laws in the past, and Republicans in the state legislature are working feverishly during the current legislative session to craft a bill that will get enough support. However, they will face tough opposition from Democrats and Republican lawmakers representing rural areas of the state.
Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma are looking to adopt ESA programs later this year as well, meaning that a significant number of states will be allowing parents to have more of a choice in their children’s education.
More Choices, Better Outcomes?
Naturally, those on the left are none too happy about the new developments in the world of education. Indeed, Democrats have tried everything from claiming school choice is racist to attempting to get the Justice Department to label parents protesting critical race theory as “domestic terrorists.”
This is not shocking given the fact that school choice is likely the best weapon against the effort to indoctrinate children. Passing laws barring the teaching of critical race theory can only do so much to address the issue. Indeed, some teachers have already found ways to work around these bans. Moreover, some school districts are enacting policies that allow for the grooming of children into transgender ideology and even in helping kids “transition” to the opposite sex.
But if parents are able to pick which schools their children attend – or to pull them out of schools altogether – progressives will have fewer kids to indoctrinate. This does not mean they will stop trying – but more educational options will go a long way toward protecting children from being propagandized.
Read More From Jeff Charles
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