This year, more students than ever before will utilize school vouchers or scholarship tax credit programs to attend the private schools of their parents’ choice, thanks to the unprecedented expansion of school choice programs in 2011.
As a result, more than 200,000 children will go “back to school” this month, and next, as participants in America’s 26 private school choice programs, spanning 13 states and the District of Columbia. For example:
- In Indiana, thousands of students have enrolled in private schools with scholarships from the Choice Scholarship Program, the broadest voucher program in the nation.
- In Washington, D.C., the highly successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program was restored for five years, benefiting additional children from low-income families.
- In Ohio, thousands of children who previously attended failing public schools will now attend the private schools of their parents’ choice, thanks to a significant expansion to the state’s EdChoice program. A new voucher program for children with special needs was also created.
- And in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program—the nation’s longest-running school voucher program—was dramatically expanded and the Racine Parental Choice Program was created.
But despite these school choice advancements, millions of students who go “back to school” will remain trapped in often failing and unsafe schools. Nationwide, only 33 percent of 4th graders and 32 percent of 8th graders are proficient in reading. In math, only 39 percent of 4th graders and 32 percent of 8th graders are proficient.
This back to school season, parents and advocates can fight to improve our education system and learn about how school choice can empower families.
The American Federation for Children’s back to school campaign—launched today at www.federationforchildren.org/backtoschool—empowers advocates, legislators, and parents with information on the progress of school choice programs, details on how these programs save states money, and advice on how to get involved in bringing school choice to their states. Visitors can access back to school news and updates, tell elected officials to support school choice legislation, and read about effective programs.
“The back to school season is an exciting time for families and children,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “But it’s also a time for advocates, parents, and legislators to rally for school choice programs that empower the millions of parents and children across the country who need our help the most.”
To find out more information about the American Federation for Children’s Back to School initiative, visit www.federationforchildren.org/backtoschool.
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