School Choice

Kansas Legislators Want To Expand School Choice Options for Kids Stuck With Virtual Learning

Why not give parents the money to send kids to a private school that is actually open?

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Something is happening in Kansas that ideally would spread to every other state in the country: Legislators are looking at ways to expand school choice options for public school students who are stuck with virtual learning.

Lawmakers would like to create a new education savings account (ESA) policy that covers students "whose districts have required remote or hybrid learning for a prolonged period of time," according to The Topeka Capital-Journal. Under the plan, the families of qualifying students would receive access to their own per pupil funding, the amount of money the state provides to the public education system on behalf of each child. They could then spend that money on an education option—like private school—that better meets their needs.

Many Kansas school districts have partly reopened, though it's not clear whether they will stay that way. Broadly speaking, private schools across the U.S. have remained open since September. Pandemic mitigation efforts have inadvertently produced a two-tiered education system: Private school students are overwhelmingly back in school, enjoying something approaching a normal learning experience, whereas many of their public school counterparts are making due with limited in-person instruction or zero in-person instruction. These discrepancies are worst in large cities, where some of the most vulnerable students—those whose family and living conditions make them particularly ill-suited to remote instruction—have gone an entire year without setting foot inside a classroom.

An obvious answer to this problem is to take the money that is being spent on propping up a public education system that is utterly failing to deliver families what they need, and instead let families use the money to arrange better options.

"If a child doesn't get an education, the child and their family lose but yet they have no say in many districts like ours," Joy Eakins, a former Witchita public schools board member and supporter of the new ESA bill, told The Topeka Capital-Journal. "So they are just in this position where [the district] doesn't have to worry about customer service…with some of our kids who need the most help."

Public school officials and teachers unions are skeptical of ESAs, since they threaten the public education system's budget. Districts worry that the plan would cause them to lose money and thus leave them incapable of implementing the necessary COVID-19 safety measures.

But with public schools all across the country signaling a brazen unwillingness to fully reopen next fall—let alone sooner—parents would be right to wonder whether that money is being wasted. Teachers unions in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York City, and countless other cities have fought reopening, even as district officials have largely agreed to meet the unions' safety demands. NYC education officials, including Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and union boss Michael Mulgrew, are already preparing families to accept a mix of in-person and distance learning in the fall, even though numerous health experts—including those at the Centers for Disease Control—have concluded that many schools could safely reopen right now.

And of course, the reality is that many schools are currently open: They just happen to be private schools. Legislators in Kansas and elsewhere should make it easier for students and their families to access the money being spent on their behalfs and enroll in education options that make sense for them.

NEXT: CBO Says Raising Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour Would Kill Jobs, Because Obviously It Would

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  1. I can’t wait for all of the retarded public sector elementary education majors to starve to death.

    1. You will starve to death first.
      They will get the first and best of everything the government can supply, and will never miss a paycheck.
      Maybe you have forgotten which party won the last election?

      1. The CCP?

      2. They’ll only live the high life while they’re still useful to the party. I suspect they’ll quickly outlive that usefulness if they don’t reopen the reeducation facilities, since the closings have already done their job and Democracy was saved from the voters.

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  2. The public school system is more about employment than education, so much so that they forgot that the former actually depends on the latter.

    1. If the Goyim didn’t send their broodlings to a public school depository, they might be forced to stay home to care for them. This limitation to the available labor supply might increase employee salaries if we didn’t have an open border policy with Latin America and Asia.

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    2. There’s a whole lot of truth to that, and not just teachers: administration, maintenance, transportation, food service… There’s an entire industry built around public education. I’m interested to see how this plays out.

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  3. Don’t worry. The Biden DOE will make sure this gets shut down. Letting parents make decisions for their own children, outside of state control, is white supremacy and can’t be allowed.

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  4. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and those who are deemed at-risk by their current school district would be eligible….

    Dos this alleviate Cronut’s “white supremacy” concern?

    Students would need to re-qualify on a year-to-year basis, meaning that once a district transitions back to in-person learning, their pupils would potentially lose their ESAs.

    Oops!

  5. White House: Our goal is to have 50 percent of schools open by April 30, 2021 — “at least one day per week”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/tomselliott/status/1359208012309741570

  6. >>If a child doesn’t get an education, the child and their family lose

    hoped a year off of the government schools would help parents know sending the kids to school will not “get” them an education

  7. You know a government is tyrannical when you have to lobby politicians for “permission” for your own children’s education.

    “May I; Gov-Gods?”

  8. My kids are grown so I don’t care anymore. They went to a private school.

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  9. Private schools are grandma killers. They produce right wing extremists. Government should ban all private schools.

  10. Just needs to be passed on a couple of places then everyone will want this option. The teachers union will have run out of feet with which to shoot themselves.

    1. They can have their hands identify as feet.

  11. Why not leave parents and everyone else the hell alone?

  12. Yes – expand and let kids have the choice of online schooling or home schooling – Who Knows one of them could be a fave

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