- - Wednesday, March 31, 2021

School choice opponents often make the claim that supporters, like me, want to “privatize education” or “dismantle public schools.” There is no basis for these accusations.

I support public schools. I also support charter schools, private schools, homeschooling, blended learning, career-tech education and so on. I support state-funded programs that allow families to participate in these school choice options because I know that while traditional public schools are a great option for many students, for others they are not the right fit.

Some families can afford to move to a district that is the right fit for their children or to pay private school tuition. For many other families, though, these options do not exist. Therefore I support state programs that focus on the student rather than the system.

I support school choice because of moms like Jessica, whose son was struggling in his assigned public school. Jessica explained that although the public school tried everything it could to make it work, it was not the right school to address her son’s autism and behavioral issues, and he was not learning anything. Thankfully there was a state-funded scholarship for special-needs students and her son was able to use it at a learning center. For Jessica, the scholarship was a “lifesaver.”

I support school choice because of students like Walter, who benefitted from a state-funded scholarship to attend a private school. Walter struggled academically in his assigned school, faced bullying and was regularly in fights. His life turned around after he attended a local private school. He was able to go on to college and pursue a degree in journalism. As Walter explained, “If you would have told me maybe six or seven years ago that I would be in a place where I am I would not have believed you.”

Educational choice is about having options for students and empowering parents with the opportunities to choose the best type of program for their children. I support school choice so parents like Jessica can find a better fit for their children and students like Walter can attend the school that is right for them.


Oak Park, Calif.

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