The need for school choice here in our Commonwealth is exponentially growing and expanding. At this moment, with the need for educational choice all across America, momentum is building in the effort to accomplish educational options for students and parents.
This momentum is revealed in Kentucky by a recent report’s revelation that nearly 100,000 students in our Commonwealth have now opted out of traditional public schools and have started relying on other paths of education such as private schools, homeschooling, etc.
Furthermore, in 2021, the Kentucky General Assembly passed the “Educational Account Opportunity Act” (EAO Act) that helped cover certain educational expenses for Kentucky families from a privately funded needs-based program. The program provided tuition assistance to help students attend PK-12 non-public schools in counties which have a population of over 90,000 people.
Unfortunately, educational choice opponents targeted the EAO Act by filing a lawsuit against the bill, and the Franklin County Circuit Court struck it down. Gratefully, now, however, the Kentucky Supreme Court has taken up this case and is considering the constitutionality of the EOA Act.
School choice is gaining great momentum in the Commonwealth and is desperately needed for multiple reasons. One of the main reasons that school choice is needed is to protect and respect parental authority.
Many parents in the Commonwealth have great concern with the recent advocating of LGBTQ ideologies by the public school system, pushing the radical ideology on students and undermining parental authority. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has employed various maneuvers, like the release of their “toolkit,” to forcibly push LGBTQ propaganda throughout Kentucky schools, all the while keeping parents in the dark.
Kentucky’s educational policy needs to reverse course and stop undermining parental authority, rather prioritizing it. Dr. Gary Houchens, professor of educational administration at Western Kentucky University put it best when he wrote, “To the fullest extent possible, every education policy that comes out of Frankfort should put parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their children.”
There is a growing effort across the nation that is catching fire that focuses on putting parents in a place of authority over their children’s education. This effort centers on shifting funds to the students and allowing their parents to make the decision of where their child or children will be educated. For example, Arizona’s governor just signed into law a universal education choice program that allows every parent to use educational funds to pay for the school of their choice, whether it be private, charter, public, etc., that best fits the needs of their children.
The reality is, no one is in a more advantageous position to make decisions for their children’s educational needs than the children’s parents.
The Kentucky legislature needs to consider bold measures in the upcoming session that will protect parental authority and advance school choice.