(Official Washington Examiner editorial, January 6, 2024)  After a series of major victories in 2023, the school choice movement needs and deserves to chalk up even bigger successes in 2024.

As reported this week in these pages, activists rightly dubbed 2023 “the year of universal school choice.” Arizona and West Virginia had already made virtually all children eligible for choice programs, and in 2023 Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah joined the club. Another eight states passed new laws establishing forms of choice for the first time or significantly (even if not universally) expanding availability of choice.

And in Wisconsin, which decades ago was the first major proving ground for choice, even Democratic Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill increasing the amount of money available per each state voucher, part of a choice regime in which 52,000 students participate. In December, even the liberal-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit challenging the program.

“We’ve had the biggest wins the school choice movement has ever witnessed,” American Federation for Children senior fellow Corey DeAngelis told the Washington Examiner. “A universal school choice revolution has ignited.”

And: “We’re seeing the laboratories of democracy working right before our very eyes, at least in red states. The GOP has emerged as the Parents Party, with leaders engaging in friendly competition to empower all families with education freedom.”

Also in 2023, another 28 states saw school choice bills introduced in their legislatures. It is in these states that more gains are both possible and necessary. The problem is that even in some Republican-heavy states, not all Republicans, much less Democrats, are on board. In Texas, for example, some Republican legislators have stymied Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s concerted efforts to push universal school choice.

Indeed, this is a problem, especially in some southern states. In a number of states — Alabama is one — Republicans by label may hold a majority or even a supermajority of state legislative seats, but a large subset of those officeholders actually are party-switchers with long-standing ties to education unions or the educational bureaucratic establishment….. [The rest of the editorial is here.]


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