School Choice Ohio participated in a number of National School Choice Week events from January 26 to February 1, part of an effort to increase educational flexibility for families and foster competition in a government-dominated industry.
“Participants in National School Choice believe that parents should be empowered to choose the best educational environments for their children,” National School Choice Week explained. According to the national group, 180 events were scheduled across Ohio in addition to thousands more nationwide.
“Supporters plan events that highlight a variety of school choice options — from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning, and homeschooling.”
In a release, National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella asserted that “there is a tremendous demand for more educational options for families in Ohio.”
School Choice Ohio noted that Governor John Kasich, a Republican, recognized School Choice Week in an official January 26 resolution.
Kasich’s resolution stated that “Ohio is front and center in the important work of giving all children access to quality education.”
In its latest state education report card — based on academic standards, school choice, home schooling regulations, and other measures — the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gave Ohio a B, the same grade as Florida and Louisiana. ALEC gave Arizona, Indiana, and Oklahoma each a B+.
Media Trackers asked School Choice Ohio Communications Director Kaleigh Frazier where the organization believes Ohio has seen the most improvement in terms of school choice policies.
“Within the past few years, Ohio has experienced significant gains when it comes to school choice. The most recent would be the creation of the Income-Based Scholarship Program,” Frazier replied.
“There are many families in Ohio who know their children need another education option, but they cannot afford to make a change on their own. This program empowers those families to find a great school that is a great fit for their child.”
“Another significant school choice expansion was the creation of the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program,” Frazier continued. “Thanks to this program, parents of students with special needs are given the opportunity to mix and match services to provide an education that is specifically tailored to their child’s unique learning needs.”
Frazier also cited expanded school choice vouchers in Cleveland, a reform the Kasich Administration negotiated in conjunction with a costly levy in the long-suffering Cleveland school district.
“The increase in the high school voucher amount for the Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program is another recent gain for school choice in the buckeye state,” Frazier said. “The increase in the high school amount helped to create more parity between voucher students in Cleveland and their counterparts in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.”
Asked what policy or policies School Choice Ohio believes the state still needs to implement, Frazier replied, “At School Choice Ohio, we hope to see school choice continue to expand until every Ohio student has the opportunity to choose a great school that is the best fit for their learning needs.”
“We also hope to see the education landscape in Ohio continue to evolve and innovate to expand the types of quality education options available for students,” she concluded.
In recent years Gov. Kasich and the Republican-dominated Ohio General Assembly have increased flexibility for families whose only options historically have been to move or to pay for private school while still footing the bill for public school via their property taxes.
Ohio’s “progressive” movement, meanwhile, views decades of public school failure and millions in taxpayer money siphoned from public workers by unions as reasons to spend more on public schools, and public schools alone.
ProgressOhio, Policy Matters Ohio, and Innovation Ohio — all funded by public employee unions — regularly seek to discredit the entire concept of school choice by pointing out that some charter schools fail, and that some businesses profit from charters.
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