The following column is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of The Georgia Virtue.
By: Cole Muzio, President of Frontline Policy Council and Frontline Policy Action. Find him on Twitter @ColeMuzio
After nearly two years of virtual learning and mask mandates, school systems across our country have failed our children, and the damage is taking its toll. Already, testing shows that students are months behind where they should be, and the gaps are widening for school districts serving our poorer communities. Parents across our state are frustrated that their children are taking a back seat to the ideological agendas of hostile education bureaucrats, and now is the moment to take a stand. By supporting ‘Promise Scholarships,’ we can put power in the hands of parents and take our schools back for our children.
Promise Scholarships are an innovative school choice program that would provide Georgia families with $6,000 to use towardflexible education options if their zoned school is failing them. Each child learns in different ways, and promise scholarships provide parents the flexibility to best fit the needs of their own children, whether that be homeschooling programs, special needs therapies, cost of transportation to a new school, and more.
Frustrated parents across the country are fighting back against school boards that have injected their personal agendas into our public schools at the cost of our children. In Virginia, this culminated in statewide elections where parents took an emphatic stand for politicians that supported the God-given right parents have to choose their own child’s educational environment.
These issues may not be at the center of debate for every school district in Georgia, but like Virginia, it will take full support from parents across the state to achieve real change. By taking a stand alongside those facing unaccountable school boards, more rural districts in Virginia expelled this threat from their state and ensured that the issue never reached their doorsteps.
In Georgia, we can make our voices heard through promise scholarships. This program, which would be available to all Georgia public school students whose family income is under $53,000 for a family of four, would provide parents the ability to hold their local school districts accountable for their actions. By empowering parents with educational options that better fit the needs of our children, we can let school bureaucrats know that we’re still in charge when it comes to our children.
Parents are justly gearing up to fight out-of-touch school boards, but the truth is that many public school systems have been failing our children for decades. The U.S. once boasted the world’s most impressive education system. Sadly, each year we continue to fall further behind our international peers in essential subjects like math and science. Promise scholarships can solve for these more entrenched issues by giving parents the ability to take their kids out of failing government-run institutions and place them in settings that will give them a strong, globally competitive education.
We’ve seen the educational system fail students time and time again, and the only way we can enact real change is through meaningful legislation in the Georgia Assembly, like HB 999 and HB 60. It’s long overdue that we hold our public school districts accountable for failing to provide our children with the education they deserve, and by providing real school choice, Georgia can take an unyielding stance against educational bureaucrats intent on shutting parents out of the education of their own children.