The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Give Parents and Students What They Want

Posted by thelamp on May 4, 2007

Educating their children has always been a passionate issue for parents. Knowledge and character are two of the most important qualities any contributing member of society must possess, but public education has failed miserably at producing graduates who’ve mastered them.

Despite its good intentions, the No Child Left Behind mandate hasn’t fulfilled its mission, but some lawmakers are willing to change national policy. The Empowering Parents Through Choice Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Lemar Alexander, R-Tenn., proves someone on Capitol Hill has been listening to parents’ pleas.

Click here to ask your senator to support S. 1014, the Empowering Parents Through Choice Act.

If passed, parents nationwide would finally be allowed to pull their children out of failing schools, with the federal government’s blessing – and up to $4,000 in financial support. Instead of fighting for their lives in bathrooms or studying from outdated textbooks in inadequate facilities, inquisitive, bright kids can go to a place where they can learn.

Advocates for school choice understand that in far too many cases, the basic problem lies not with the student, but with inadequate government-run schools. Unfortunately, the patchwork of policies across the United States has left some children without the same access to a quality schools as their peers in states embracing choice. No child should be locked out and denied access to a successful future, and a good education is the proverbial key to opening doors.

Despite the perception that poor, minority or immigrant children don’t value education, there are stories coast to coast about the significant sacrifices families are willing to make for education’s sake. In South Carolina, for example, 16-year-old Rontrell Matthews doesn’t squander the money he earns making sandwiches at the local Subway in the afternoons. Instead of buying bling-bling or DVDs, his earnings contribute to the $400 tuition his parents pay for his schooling.

School choice is a hotly debated issue in South Carolina and elsewhere in America. In Ohio, the governor wants to pull the plug on the state’s fledgling school choice voucher program. The Center for Moral Clarity is collaborating with parents and like-minded organizations in a fight to maintain it.

Parents in New Jersey are anxiously awaiting a judge’s ruling, which will determine whether a class action lawsuit on behalf of students in failing schools can proceed in Superior Court. Mothers and fathers – taxpaying citizens – are suing for the right to use public funds to enroll their children at the school of their choosing.

Similar scenarios are playing out in other states, such as Utah, Minnesota and Florida. In Texas, a commission has recommended expanding school choice in that state, although a similar push for expansion died in New Mexico’s General Assembly at the end of its last legislative session.

All of this is offered as evidence to underscore the obvious: parents value the education provided in a religious environment, and they demand access to it.

Click here to ask your senator to support S. 1014, the Empowering Parents Through Choice Act.



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