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Will 2023 Be the Year for School Choice?

Will 2023 Be the Year for School Choice?
AP Photo/Ron Harris
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National School Choice Week has kicked off and it is off to a great start. Education has been front and center in the national conversation and proponents of the idea that parents should choose where and how their children are educated are fired up.

Iowa became the latest state to pass a comprehensive school choice law providing more options for parents and children. The Des Moines Register reported:

Gov. Kim Reynolds was ecstatic Tuesday as she signed into law a seismic education plan three years in the making.

“What an amazing day for our children!” she exclaimed to a crowd of children, parents, lawmakers, and other supporters gathered in the Iowa Capitol rotunda.

Surrounded by private school students, Reynolds, a Republican, inked her signature on a law that will allow any Iowa family to use taxpayer funds to pay for private school tuition — at a cost of $345 million annually to the state once fully phased in.

This was Reynolds’ third attempt to pass meaningful school choice legislation. Her past two attempts were scuttled by Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike. But it appears the third time was the charm.

Reynolds celebrated the passing of the law, noting that the state will now be “funding students instead of a system.”

“Public schools are the foundation of our educational system, and for most families, they’ll continue to be the option of choice. But they aren’t the only choice. And for some families, a different path may be better for their children,” she continued.

If current developments are any indication, Iowa will be the first of several that are set to enact school choice legislation.

In Arkansas, newly-elected Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order to adopt a “comprehensive approach” to education. It will expand access to charter schools in the state.

Nevada is also expected to embrace more school choice measures. Gov. Joe Lombardo delivered his first State of the State address on Monday evening in which he argued that every child “has the right to a quality education and should be college or career ready by the time they graduate high school.”

“Traditional public schools are not – and should not – be the only option,” Lombardo continued.

Texas is also set to pass significant school choice legislation now that the state legislature is in session. While past attempts to enact meaningful policy on this front have been stymied by Democrats and Republicans, the uproar over the material being taught in schools has given the school choice side more momentum.

National School Choice Week might just be the harbinger of what is to come across the nation as the aforementioned states, along with others, are poised to provide more educational options to parents and their children. KATU reported:

National School Choice Week, recognized every January since 2011, aims to promote all forms of school choice. Organizations and schools across the country host a variety of events focusing on the multitude of educational options available to families, including public districts, charter schools, private schools and homeschooling.

Multiple studies have shown that the majority of parents support school choice, much to the chagrin of progressives who believe your children belong to government schools and not to you. While these developments are a positive sign, it would be important to remember that the statist crowd will fight tooth and nail to ensure only the government is able to decide where and how children are educated. But we can take encouragement from the fact that public opinion is on our side. It’s time to make the most of it.

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