Lack of Trust in Public Education Has More States Passing School Choice Measures

A little competition may encourage public schools to get their acts together.

Last year, 19 states passed or expanded 32 school choice policies. Now, 21 states and Washington, D.C., offer school programs that give parents more options.

What is school choice? School choice is a movement to allow public education funds to follow students rather than only funding public schools. Parents are able to pull their children out of traditional public schools and explore different options.

Some options are:

  • Charter schools (independently run public schools)

  • Open enrollment (allowing students to go to other school districts)

  • State funding to pay for other education options like homeschooling, private schools, and tutoring.

Arizona is leading the way: Last month, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed the most significant legislative expansion for school choice. The law would give parents $7,000 per child for alternative schooling. The state will also be leaning into open enrollment and state-backed private school scholarships.

It’s a partisan issue: Liberal activists aren’t in favor of school choice. For them, the movement aims to take students out of public schools, hurt the quality of schooling for all, and weaken teachers unions. Democrats also trust public schools almost three times more than Republicans, meaning they have less reason to fight against public schools.

"The Republican universal voucher system is designed to kill public education… The GOP goal is to recreate segregation, expand the opportunity gap, and destroy the foundation of our democracy."- Former Arizona House Rep. Diego Rodriguez

Why it matters: As trust in public schools inches towards an all-time low—only 14% of Republicans are confident in public schools— it’s clear that there’s a problem with education in America. Parents want more options as progressive ideology permeates public education nationwide, and school choice would give them those options.

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