Friday, July 19, 2013

"Quality schools shouldn't be just for those who have money" -- Ohio State Rep. Coley Explains his Support for Education Choice

The Ohio Legislature recently passed, and Gov. John Kasich signed into law, legislation that would greatly expand educational options for low-income students in the Buckeye State. Receiving strong bipartisan support across the state, the bill showed the state’s commitment to ensuring all students have access to the best education for their needs – whether that be at a traditional public school, charter or through private school choice program. Rep. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) drafted an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer on the significance of the passage, and how school choice is helping to level the playing field for low-income and minority students.

Read a few key excerpts below:

There’s one freedom that belongs at the very top of the list: the basic right of every child to a quality education, regardless of the economic environment in which that student lives.

“That’s the bottom-line reason for my support of school choice, because it’s by exercising that choice that communities, teachers and parents – particularly parents – can exercise each student’s right to a quality education. It’s the way we say ‘stop, we’ll not stand by and see Ohio children trapped in low-performing schools, or a school that is not the best for that child.’”

“First and foremost, school choice empowers parents to take control of what is the best learning environment for their child. Our focus should be on what is best for each child, not on what is best for the adults involved. Every parent is given the right and responsibility to choose the best option for their child. Every child in Ohio deserves a fair start and we have an obligation to equip them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to compete for jobs and prosperity in a global society.

Quality schools shouldn’t be just for those who have money. We have to be sure they’re available – as a choice – for families and their children at every economic level, in every social setting across the state. That’s not happening now in every part of Ohio, so we must use school choice to address those inequities. Poor and lower-class families should have the ability to move students from schools that are not meeting their children’s needs.

“School choice creates a more competitive environment, and a competitive environment spurs innovation and change, while it increases the performance of traditional, community and private schools. Challenged by competition, schools are encouraged to improve in order to attract and maintain students. This, in turn, increases the overall quality of the system by increasing the level of school accountability and the number of options for parents and students.”

Read the full piece here.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, Kristen Tyagi

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