This commentary is by Scott Turner, chair of the America First Policy Institute’s Center for Education Opportunity. He previously served as the executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.
Every American student deserves the opportunity to receive a quality education, a pathway to fulfilling dreams, and upward economic and social mobility. Unfortunately, many schools in our current public education system achieve none of these goals for so many students across the country.
The beauty of school choice is that it is indiscriminate of those it benefits. Children from low-income families and students with special needs are significantly aided by educational choice, as well as students from middle- and upper-class families.
Last year, many areas of the country experienced important progress in school choice. Fourteen states passed school choice legislation, including the landmark Empowerment Scholarship Program in Arizona, which was extended to every single K-12 student. This program provides for Education Savings Accounts, which allow parents to receive a portion of the funds the state would have spent on public school education to use for an alternative educational environment. Another victory occurred at the United States Supreme Court, where the Court ruled that Maine’s school voucher program could not exclude faith-based schools. This ruling set an important precedent for religious freedom and parental rights that will continue to play an important role in the movement for educational freedom. Additionally, the governors of Virginia and North Carolina signed budgets with increased funding for school choice scholarship programs.
The school choice movement also scored numerous victories at the ballot box in the 2022 midterm elections. Warriors for educational choice, including Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida, Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, and Kim Reynolds of Iowa, won their elections handily after making this issue a major part of their platforms. Advocates for parental rights and school choice also experienced success on the local level in many areas.
The research on school choice indicates a strong correlation between states with more academic freedom and high student test scores. After last year’s results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed a dramatic decline in reading and math scores for American fourth and eighth graders, policymakers should look to school choice as a way to assist students with learning loss. The decline in academic achievement scores was the largest since the testing began in 1990, and only 32% of the Nation’s fourth graders scored at or above a proficient level in 2022. At the same time, African American fourth-grade students scored 28 points lower than white students in the same grade. By increasing school choice, policymakers can enable families to find the schools that best suit their children’s individual needs, which will be critical in improving test scores across our Nation.
Not only does school choice often lead to better results for students, but it also restores control of a child’s education to parents, who are the people best suited for making decisions about which schools are best for their children. Allowing parents to practice their right to choose where their child is educated meets the present moment in American history. In national polling, 72% support school choice programs, and our country continues to see a growing demand for parental rights and educational transparency.
Two of the most critical civil rights issues in modern-day America are parental rights and educational freedom. Our children deserve the best opportunities we can give them, and these opportunities start in schools. If we invest in our students and families with smart public policy, we will enable a future generation of American leaders to create greater outcomes than we can ever imagine.
8 thoughts on “Opinion: Our children deserve the best opportunities. Let’s start with school choice”
Twelve Tribes has a private school? Who wants to have their children living next door to a family who sends their kids to a school run by a cult???
Twelve Tribes could really make a killing by using some of the national organization’s money to mount a strong recruitment campaign, a la Trump University.
What’s the difference between indoctrination the public school monopoly compared to any other school?
With School Choice, it’s a decision parents make on behalf of their own children.
In the public-school monopoly, the indoctrination is imposed by ‘the State’.
So, decide for yourselves who has your children’s best interest in mind.
Ooops. Sorry. In the public-school monopoly, your decision is meaningless.
Rather than have public schools, the ancient Romans simply used slaves to teach their kids. The result of course was an oligarchy that owned and ran the empire, while the freemen (not as well off as slaves, who usually had a roof over their head and basic sustenance) fought with one another to get advantage for their children.
the result of course was as Gibbon put it in the Decline and Fall: “The obscure millions of a great empire have much less to dread from the cruelty than from the avarice of their masters, and their humble happiness is principally affected by the grievance of excessive taxes, which, gently pressing on the wealthy, descends with accelerated weight on the meaner and more indigent classes of society.”
The advantage of public schooling– when citizens cooperate to support one another’s children– redound to children, families and society. There is no good future for America when attendance at the PTA meeting is motivated by the desire to get the best teacher only for one’s own child.
The issue is really that American public education his been hijacked byPaulo Freire’s Critical Marxism through critical Pedagogy. They are programming our children via Social -Emotional Learning to critically judge and reject the current social system to replace the system. Children are brainwashed to see reality through the lens of the oppressed and turned into activists. If this wasn’t occuring, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
It’s a wonderful notion, “School Choice”. But WHAT choices are there in VT? How many K-12 private schools are there? Where are they (outside of BTV)? Many smaller private Catholic elementary schools closed. I haven’t heard of anyone seeking to buy, build & operate a K-6 private school? But maybe if the State has to pay $19,400 per elementary school child, it could work? Call it 15 kids per class K-6. That is just under $300,000 per new elementary grade classroom.. Call it $75,000 for teacher salary and expensive benefits….that leaves $225,000 per class room for facility, overhead and profit? I think it could be done (WITH BETTER OUTCOMES) but not anytime soom.
Trump was out today and once again he NAILS it…of WHY parents are so upset in VT. There would be no VT school choice uproar, if all was not so Leftist Indoctrinating with the VT/NEA education system:
“”Our public schools have been taken over by the Radical Left maniacs,” Trump said in a video announcement released late Thursday night. Trump said the first step in his plan to “save American education” and restore power to parents would be to cut federal funding for any school or program pushing Critical Race Theory, gender ideology or other “inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content to children.
Check out: https://www.vtindependentschools.org/
School Choice is the first step toward fixing everything that ails us.
Well, yes Jay there are some out there. But they aren’t what you think, for comparables A couple are VERY expensive speciality “ski racing boarding” HIGH schools…then I saw a couple are Montessori schools…Montesorri is as far, far enviro political left as you can get.. Then VT Academy, Saxtons River? That is a private 9-12 (NOT elementary) BOARDING school but charges around $50k a year? same with a couple other $$$ private ones.. …BOARDING schools.
what I want to see is a private school in MONTPELIER…day school, not boarding. And show the success right under all the leftists noses in Montpelier
What’s your point? School Choice is not just a ‘notion’. Did you review the web site?
A quick search shows these private schools in Montpelier:
River Rock School
The New School Of Montpelier
Montessori School Of Central
Be realistic.. Here’s a current list of Vermont private schools… not counting parochial schools.
Town School Students Grades Status
Bennington Hiland Hall School
32 K-8 Approved
Berlin Montessori School of Central Vt.
29 K-6 Recognized
Brattleboro Hilltop Montessori School
77 K-8 Approved
Brattleboro Neighborhood Schoolhouse
30 K-8 Approved
Bristol Red Cedar School
39 K-8 Recognized
Burke East Burke School
9 7-12 Approved
Burke Burke Mountain Academy
56 8-12 Accredited
Burlington Rock Point School
15 9-12 Accredited
Burlington Vermont International Academy
12 9-12 Accredited
Dorset Long Trail School
197 6-12 Accredited
Dover Mount Snow Academy
33 6-12 Recognized
East Montpelier Orchard Valley Waldorf School
90 K-8 Approved
Essex Junction Green Mountain Montessori School
2 K Approved
Fair Haven Roots & Wings Academy
11 K-6 Recognized
85 6-12 Accredited
Ludlow Black River Independent School
Ludlow Okemo Mountain School
37 7-12 Approved
Lyndon Center Lyndon Institute
586 9-12 Accredited
Lyndon Center Thaddeus Stevens School
60 K-8 Accredited
Lyndonville Riverside School
78 K-8 Accredited
Manchester Burr & Burton Academy
687 9-12 Accredited
Manchester Maple Street School
112 K-8 Accredited
Manchester Red Fox School
12 K-4 Approved
Middlebury Bridge School
38 K-6 Approved
Middlebury Mary Johnson Children’s Center
3 K Approved
Montpelier Pacem School
3 6-12 Approved
Montpelier River Rock School
46 K-8 Recognized
North Bennington Southshire Community School
26 K-6 Approved
North Bennington Village School of North Bennington
114 K-8 Accredited
Putney The Grammar School
91 K-8 Accredited
Putney Oak Meadow School
Putney The Putney School
233 9-12 Accredited
Quechee Upper Valley Waldorf School
118 K-8 Accredited
Randolph Vermont Academy of Science & Technology
59 9-12 Recognized
Reading Springbrook Farm
25 4-7 Recognized
Ripton North Branch School
25 7-9 Recognized
Rockingham Vermont Academy
209 9-12 Accredited
Roxbury VT Farm & Forest School
Rutland Sugarwood School
4 K-2 Approved
Sharon The Sharon Academy
157 7-12 Accredited
Shelburne Lake Champlain Waldorf School
204 K-12 Accredited
Shelburne Vermont Day School
65 K-8 Recognized
South Burlington Davis Community School
18 K-4 Recognized
South Burlington International Children’s School
South Burlington The Schoolhouse
49 K-8 Approved
South Burlington Vermont Commons School
104 6-12 Accredited
St Johnsbury Lamoille Valley Learning Together
75 K-8 Recognized
St Johnsbury St Johnsbury Academy
933 9-12 Accredited
Stowe Mountain River School
22 K-6 Recognized
Stowe Mount Mansfield Winter Academy
41 8-12 Approved
Stowe North American Hockey Academy
40 8-12 Recognized
Stratton Stratton Mountain School
104 7-12 Accredited
Thetford Thetford Academy
338 9-12 Approved
Thetford Open Fields School
22 K-6 Recognized
Richmond Mansfield Cooperative School
11 3-8 Recognized
Vershire Mountain School of Milton Academy
45 9-12 Accredited
Waitsfield Green Mountain Valley School
98 9-12 Accredited
Waitsfield True North Wilderness Program
Westford The Barn School
0 K-5 Recognized
Westminster The Compass School
70 7-12 Approved
Westminster Kurn Hattin Homes
96 1-8 Approved
Williston Bellwether School
29 K-6 Recognized
Winhall The Mountain School at Winhall
45 K-8 Approved
Here’s the list of parochial schools in Vermont.
Town School Students Grades Status
Barre St Monica St Michael School
66 K-8 Approved
Barre Websterville Christian School
80 K-12 Recognized
Barton St Paul’s Elementary School
69 K-8 Accredited
Bennington Forrest Ward Memorial School
6 1-8 Approved
Bennington Grace Christian School
111 K-12 Recognized
Bennington Green Mountain Mennonite School
Bennington Sacred Heart School
141 K-8 Accredited
Brattleboro Saint Michael School
117 preK-12 Accredited
Burlington Christ the King School
170 K-8 Accredited
Fairfax Apple Ladder Academy
Burlington Mater Christi School
228 K-8 Accredited
Hartford Potters House School
Island Pond Twelve Tribes Community School
Lyndonville Cornerstone Christian School
4 7-12 Recogtnized
Marshfield Christ Covenant School
84 K-12 Recognized
Morrisville Bishop John A Marshall School
121 K-8 Accredited
Newport United Christian Academy
77 K-12 Recognized
Quechee Mid Vermont Christian School
81 K-12 Approved
Rockingham Twelve Tribes Community School
Rutland Christ the King School
111 K-8 Accredited
Rutland Mount St Joseph Academy
80 9-12 Accredited
Rutland Rutland Area Christian School
55 K-9 Approved
Rutland Twelve Tribes Community School
South Burlington Rice Memorial High School
437 9-12 Accredited
St Johnsbury Caledonia Christian School
12 1-8 Approved
St Johnsbury Good Shepherd School
75 K-8 Recognized
Vergennes Ark Preschool Kindergarten
1 K Recognized
Vergennes Champlain Valley Christian School
52 K-12 Approved
Williston Brownell Mountain School
6 K-10 Accredited
Williston Trinity Baptist School
60 K-12 Recognized
Winooski St Francis Xavier School
147 K-8 Accredited
Wolcott Wolcott Mennonite School
And in towns with current School Choice, their children can attend out-of-state schools too… even with limited School Choice governance. After all, there are only 75,000 students in Vermont public schools. And think of the incentive for improvement in the currently failing public schools when they’re forced to compete.
If you have a better idea? Let’s hear it.
Comments are closed.