Policy Issue:

Education Freedom

Every student deserves a world-class education.


Protect the educational freedoms that students deserve.

Our massive public investment in K-12 schools and higher education should put students and families in control of which schools, curricula, and approaches work best for them.

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HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING:

More than perhaps any other part of our normal life other than the healthcare system, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted education and schools. As with any disaster, we can hope that some silver linings emerge from this crisis. If this moment re-centers parents—not politicians, district administrators, or schools—in their rightful place as the directors of their children’s educations, the cultural impacts could be positive and long-lasting, even as students eventually return to brick-and-mortar schools and normalcy.

In response to the pandemic, in mid-March, nearly all schoolhouses in America suddenly closed their doors and transitioned to distance learning. While some initial scrambling around was inevitable given the quick change of circumstances, public schools have not done a good job delivering online instruction to students, even months into this crisis.

Both public and private schools will face a budget crunch as our weakened economy takes a toll on families as well as tax revenues.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE:

Public education does not have to mean a monopoly of poorly-run government schools teaching curricula contrary to parents’ wishes. Instead, public education could mean investing in students and families directly, and providing them with opportunities and options. From homeschooling and “podding” to private schools, charters, or magnets, there is no single model that fits every child’s needs and every family’s values. A plethora of academic studies have shown that school choice has benefits from the academic, such as higher test scores, to the cultural, including higher rates of marriage, lower rates of divorce, and lower crime rates in adult life.

In addition to making plans for reopening schools, policymakers and legislators should look to expand options like education savings accounts, which allow families to use funds on any educational purpose.

Further, they should be curtailing unproductive “turf wars” between the traditional public, charter, virtual, and private school sectors.

Families should be able to do what works best for them during this time.

As with any disaster, we can hope that some silver linings emerge from this crisis. If this moment re-centers parents—not politicians, district administrators, or schools—in their rightful place as the directors of their children’s educations, the cultural impacts could be positive and long-lasting, even as students eventually return to brick-and-mortar schools and normalcy.