Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Building on school choice

Some excerpts from Ohio show how school choice is benefiting all students:

In the past three years, more than 1,000 families throughout Youngstown, Ohio have taken advantage of the state's open-enrollment law, charter schools, and new statewide voucher program for students in chronically failing schools. Experts say students' increasing academic success there demonstrates the benefits of choice.

Chad Aldis, executive director of School Choice Ohio (SCO), said that's what happens when parents get involved.

"Being able to choose school placement creates parent involvement," Aldis said. "That is one of the leading indicators of the success of students."

The EdChoice Scholarship, now in its third year, allowed approximately 7,000 students to choose a better educational environment during the 2007-08 school year, up from 3,000 students in 2006-07.

"I agree with Gov. [Ted] Strickland's statement in the 2007 State of the State address," Aldis said. "[He said] 'Where you grow up in Ohio should not determine where you end up in life.' The EdChoice Scholarship is an important tool in preventing this inequality by giving children in failing schools a path to a better education."

Across the country there is an obvious groundswell of support and appreciation for school choice and the range of benefits it offers. Parents are no longer happy to just wait for their schools to offer what they need, and policy-shapers have recognized that this is an important way to improve education across the board without the waiting game that happens when implementing large scale public school initiatives.

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