Saturday, March 25, 2023

Why 2022’s Shaping Up to Be a Massive Year for School Choice

Undoubtedly 2022 is going to be another massive year for the advancement of school choice. Coming off 2021, a year in which 18 states passed educational choice legislation, K-12 stakeholders are excited to continue providing students and families with the opportunity to attend schools that work best for them. In fact, they are so excited to provide educational access in 2022 that it has become a cause for celebration. Therefore, this week across the country, communities will be hosting events to voice their support for educational freedom during the annual National School Choice Week

School choice advocates will unite to raise their voices for every child, no matter their background. 

From January 23rd through January 29th, school choice supporters will take time out of their days to advocate for children and celebrate the advances made in school choice over the past year. For many attendees, the festivities will memorialize the life-changing moment when their state empowered them with the opportunity to be adequately taught. For others, the week will signify what educational opportunity could become in their state. Either way, school choice advocates will unite to raise their voices for every child, no matter their background. 

This year’s celebration is on pace to be one of the largest ever, and it is no wonder why: School choice is the rising tide that lifts all boats. Nearly every empirical study on school choice programs—once implemented—show positive results in various areas, including students’ perceived safety, parental satisfaction, mental health well-being, and academic outcomes. Still, empirical studies only go so far when trying to convince others of the benefits of school choice. 

To see the whole picture, one must also look at the students and families who directly benefit from school choice programs. Many will likely tell you school choice saved their life. Their stories are nothing short of powerful, and these stories are perhaps why many politicians are voicing their support for the school choice movement.

For instance, thirty-one United States governors and around four hundred localities issued proclamations declaring this week to be National School Choice Week in their jurisdictions. In addition, fourteen state legislatures and counting have supported National School Choice week, taking the opportunity to introduce new school choice legislation. 

However, the increase in proposed school choice legislation is also likely influenced by another reason: the high rates of support for educational freedom. Seventy-four percent of voters support giving “parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education at a public or private school best serving their needs,” and 84% of parents support the gold standard of school choice programs—Education Savings Accounts (ESA). ESA’s are particularly heralded in the school choice community because of the mass amounts of flexibility they allow parents to spend their education dollars on; expenses including ​​private education, tutoring, learning materials, and special needs therapies. 

School choice empowers parents to decide what education is best for their child, and that just makes sense.

In short, school choice is popular because it speaks to the individuality found in every child. Moreover, school choice empowers parents to decide what education is best for their child, and that just makes sense. Parents know what is best for their children, not the government; hence it is fitting for policymakers to respect parents and empower them to choose what’s best for their own children. A whole generation of children stands to benefit if they do. So this week, let’s celebrate the success of school choice and continue fighting for every child and family to have the opportunity to learn in an atmosphere that suits their needs. 

Cooper Conway
Cooper Conway is a Young Voices contributor and a Frank Church Scholar at the Boise State University Honors College. 


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