This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Erin Norman first published at the Washington Examiner, as part of the Examiner’s Empowering Families in Education Initiative.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted several long-term societal problems that were bubbling under the surface, just waiting to explode. The state of public education no doubt falls into that category, with many parents engaged but largely unaware of the state of their child’s education until directly confronted with how little many public school systems did to ensure learning continued during the pandemic. The opportunity to peer into classrooms via endless remote Zoom lessons gave parents a better picture of the quality of their child’s education — and left them eager for alternatives.
The effect of this jarring change to education is clear: State Policy Network polling shows that 79% of voters think parents should have more options in public education.
As shocked parents grappled with the reality of public schools, parental involvement, attendance at school board meetings, and support for school choice spiked, with some advocates calling 2021 “the year of school choice.” But while significant progress was made in many states over the last few years, 2022 included some significant setbacks.
Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox vowed to veto a choice scholarship program even if it passed the state House, which it didn’t. The Georgia Senate killed the Educational Freedom Act, which would have created state-funded scholarships for private school tuition. West Virginia’s near-universal Educational Savings Scholarship Account, the Hope Scholarship, is tied up in litigation for allegedly violating the state’s Constitution by providing money to a private education system outside the established public one.
Read the full piece at the Washington Examiner here.