Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Oh, What a Year It’s Been for School Choice!

It’s been an excellent year for school choice! 2021 has rightly been called a “breakthrough year” and “The Year of School Choice,” as 18 different states enacted seven new school choice programs and worked to expand 21 existing programs. And 2022 may prove to be even better!

What’s really impressive is that school choice is celebrating its best year ever—even in the midst of a global pandemic. The bottom line: school choice is expanding because it is popular. And whether we were talking private school, charter school, homeschool, vouchers or opportunity scholarships—you’ve been here for it!

Here are 14 school choice stories you couldn’t get enough of this year.

Families Voting With Their Feet

Laura Waters broke down the data that demonstrated a 3% decrease in public school enrollment from school years 2019-2020 to 2020-2021, as more than one million parents opted for charter schools, private schools, or homeschool.

Maureen Kelleher shared that although private schools may be the right choice for many families (including her own), they share some of the same challenges that public schools face. Even still, her daughter will not be returning to public school anytime soon.

Alina Adams shares how Simone Biles taught her that it really is OK to opt out of public schools when the school is not meeting your child’s needs—no matter what the critics say.

Erica Boucher shares how Arizona’s “Succeed Scholarship” helped her enroll two of her sons in a school with the one-on-one attention they needed. 

Black-Owned Schools

Denisha Merriweather shares how lower-income families, many of whom are Black, are too often shackled to the public school-to-prison pipeline with no hope for relief. Yet, she believes that Pharrell Williams and other celebrity school founders are joining the many other school-founding warriors—like Myron Long— in an attempt to solve our country’s hardest problems at their source.

Lisa Buie shares how Cameron Frazier is using the HBCU model at Becoming Collegiate Academy—a Black-owned school—to prepare the youngest learners in his north Jacksonville, Florida community for admission to high-profile colleges.

The Personal Is Political

After nearly two years of pandemic learning, alternative education opportunities are more essential than ever before. Michigan is just one of the states working toward funding students instead of systems.

Although many parents in Pennsylvania favor school choice, the teachers union always pushes back.

Amanda Keiffer tells us that after two years of the Red for Ed movement and two years of COVID mandates and lockdowns that have hobbled the education of a generation of children, fed-up families are finally demanding better educational choices. And lawmakers are listening.

But could there be a catch? Laura Waters waded through this perplexing legislative move in Rhode Island that could easily be a way-too-clever-by-half end-run around public charter supporters in the state.

Ikhlas Saleem points out that, in the midst of the polarizing debate on mask mandates in schools, Democrats are having a “come to Jesus” moment on school choice.

Colleen Hroncich makes an appeal for funding students instead of the public school system. This would help level the playing field by enabling all parents—regardless of race, income, or address—to choose the educational options that work for their children.

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