This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Erin Norman was first published at the Washington Examiner
For those supporting school choice, policy progress can often be described as “two steps forward and one step back.” In March 2021, West Virginia passed a far-reaching Education Savings Account plan that was quickly tied up in legal challenges. It took the courts until October 2022 to resolve the complaints in the program’s favor. In Arizona , a state with a robust program and a history of choice, newly seated Gov. Katie Hobbs said she would work to roll back Arizona’s educational freedom.
The most common pushback against school choice programs is that they unfairly take resources out of the public system and pass them to affluent families who can, and do, already afford to opt out of traditional public school. Among these two sides of education reform — more choice versus keeping public dollars in public systems — people are split. In State Policy Network’s December State Voices polling, 50% of people said they support a school choice program in which the money follows the child, with significant partisan differences (44% of Democrats support compared to 58% of Republicans).
But when the same group of voters is asked if families should have more options when it comes to public education, 78% agree — with minimal differences based on political party or ideology. While people may be split on how we provide more options to students, there is a solid consensus that additional choices are needed.
Read the full piece at the Washington Examiner.