BETTER EDUCATIONAL CHOICES
Our school system is broken. According to the Columbus Dispatch, only half of Central Ohio’s public school students passed their standardized tests. In private schools, nearly everyone passed the same test. Adding insult to injury, the private schools cost less than public schools. (See here and here.)
The State of Ohio spends over $9 billion per year on a failing educational system. There is clearly no relation between state spending and better education, we’re spending more than ever while grades and drop-out rates are getting worse.
Education is important and most people want education to be publicly funded. That does not mean that every child is best served by the nearest public school. Children differ and parents have their own preferences about teaching styles and methods of maintaining discipline. More important, the public schools are caught in the middle of intense disputes about values, religion, and even what subjects should be taught. Moreover, court decisions and bureaucratic controls at all levels—Washington, Columbus, and the local school district—interfere with the freedom of teachers to teach and to maintain order. Especially in the largest and most diverse districts, it is impossible for public schools to satisfy the needs of all families.
Currently, our educational system is controlled by high-priced lawyers and lobbyists in Columbus who actually spend our own schools’ money to influence legislators in the State House. Money is spent as political favors for powerful friends, not for our children.
Bill Peirce has an answer to this problem: he wants you to decide how to spend your money on your children’s education. He wants you to choose where to send your children for their best interests.
And to help you do what’s best for your child, the school of your choice will receive a $3,000 grant from the state of Ohio. This is similar to the Pell grants the federal government provides at the university level. You decide on a school, and the school earns the grant.
Schools in Ohio have become so sensitive to politics that they’re afraid to discipline their students or even call the police in an emergency. We can’t allow this to continue. Schools must be free to determine their own standards of conduct and disciplinary policies. They must also be able to set admission standards for their students regardless of the student’s residence. While the district and the state remain obligated to provide for the education of all children, that obligation should not be met by sacrificing the interests of those students who want to learn.
How will Freedom to Prosper affect Religious, Faith-based, or Values Oriented Education?
The Freedom to Prosper grants will be distributed to any school chosen by the student and his or her family without discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, or other factor. This allows the parents to decide what form of education is truly best for their child, and teachers can decide whether they prefer to teach in a religious or faith-based environment.
For more information on Ohio’s school system, please see the Buckeye Institute’s Education Policy Center