January 24, 2021
By Victor Riches
Living a freer, happier life depends on being equipped with the tools needed to succeed—and that starts at a very young age. But not all students are the same, and not all schools are equal, which is why providing a wide array of school choice options is so important. It ensures that kids can receive the education that best fits their individual needs. The “one-size-fits-all” education system favored by unions simply doesn’t work. However, by providing a multitude of school choice options, we can craft an educational environment that works for all students and families.
Today is the first day of National School Choice Week, a nationwide celebration of freedom in education. School choice is all about giving parents access to more options that fit their child’s unique learning needs. After all, where a student lives shouldn’t be the primary factor determining whether or not they get a good education. When parents can choose among a host of options—from traditional public schools to private schools, from charter schools to homeschooling—they are better able to give their child the tools necessary to succeed, and the benefits are undeniable. Among other outcomes, school choice provides greater student safety, increases parental satisfaction, leads to higher graduation rates, and saves taxpayer dollars.
That’s why promoting and increasing school choice has long been a top priority of the Goldwater Institute: It puts students and parents at the center of the educational experience—not bureaucrats and unions. We’re committed to creating an educational system that empowers families to choose the best schooling options for their kids—and we’re working to make that system a reality across the country.
We’ve already developed and given families access to education savings accounts (ESAs), which allows parents to use their own tax dollars to send their kids to the school of their choice, as well as for personalized instruction and therapy services. We’ve now passed ESA legislation in six states, and we’re working to expand ESAs to even more states in 2021.
This effort alone has made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of families, particularly for low-income families and those with special needs children. (You can learn more about what Goldwater has been doing to stand up for ESA families here and in the video above.) We’re also pulling back the curtain on the politically motivated, anti-American curriculum being propagated in too many of our country’s public schools, so that parents know exactly what their kids are being taught and can make educational decisions based on that knowledge.
The importance of school choice has never been more clear than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when shuttered schools and union dictates created nearly insurmountable challenges for many students. And Americans of all political stripes agree. According to a recent poll from the American Federation for Children, 72% of Democrats, 73% of independents, and 73% of Republicans support “giving parents a portion of [K-12 public education] funds to use for home, virtual, or private education if public schools do not reopen for in-person classes.” In short, Americans understand that school choice—now more than ever—is just common sense.
This week, at Goldwater’s In Defense of Liberty blog, you’ll hear directly from parents who have experienced the benefits of educational freedom firsthand. You’ll read about the policies that are making a difference in students’ lives, and you’ll learn about the proposals that will be educational game-changers across the country. Join us this week as we celebrate the ways in which school choice improves the lives of countless kids and families.
Victor Riches is the President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.