Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Legislative, Legal and Emerging Communications Issues

Seemingly endless attacks have plagued educational choice for years, and unfortunately the people who suffer the most because of these ruthless attacks are the children who, without other choice options, would be underserved in schools that do not work for them. Fortunately, attendees at the "Legislative, Legal and Emerging Communications Issues" breakout session heard good news for the students from Dick Komer, senior attorney for the Institute for Justice (IJ). IJ has been fighting in courtrooms for years to protect children's basic civil right to educational choice, and Komer believes change is coming.

“I sense the tide is actually turning on the legal front and perhaps a few years from now we’ll have better news to tell,” Komer said, describing several lawsuits that have been dismissed and other rulings against choice that have been recently overturned.

Komer's sense about the growing support for choice is strongly supported by public opinion polls.

According to Scott Jensen, senior advisor to the American Federation for Children, surveys among voters show a majority of people support school choice.

“When we appeal to the notion that every kid has a right to achieve by going to a good school, we win people over,” said Jensen. "The survey shows 97 percent of people agree with that. The social justice argument is so powerful."

And while an array of arguments from opponents of choice are plentiful, the bottom line is that students who attend the school of their choice across the country perform better on tests because of their access to a learning environment that best fits their individual academic needs. Said Jensen:

“Vouchers provide an immediate path for children from low income families in failing schools to access a better education."

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