Educational choice programs—defined broadly as programs that provide parents with financial aid to help their children opt out of the traditional public school system—are a hallmark of meaningful educational reform. Yet despite widespread news coverage of such programs, polls show most Americans are unfamiliar with how educational choice programs work. Opponents of educational choice routinely take advantage of this knowledge gap by promoting various myths intended to confuse legislators and policymakers and thereby deter them from enacting educational choice programs.
In recognition of this dynamic, the Institute for Justice (IJ) created this publication. Our goal is to dispel 12 of the most commonly circulated myths so that legislators and the public can make well-informed decisions about the merits of giving parents more control over their children’s education.
There is no better time to talk about reform than right now. Publicly funded education needs real and dramatic change, and educational choice programs are a powerful catalyst for reform. These programs take power away from an education establishment (public sector unions, reform-blocking state departments of education, and self-serving school administrators) that seeks to preserve the status quo. The programs then transfer that power back to parents, who know better than almost anyone what kind of educational environment will best suit the needs of their children. Rather than empowering an administrator whose institutional interests do not always align with those of students and families, educational choice programs empower parents and children to get the education that is right for them.
As the nation’s leading legal defender of educational choice, IJ stands with families nationwide who simply want to make the best choices for their children. With this publication, we seek to set the record straight on educational choice. By compiling the mountain of evidence on the effectiveness and constitutionality of educational choice, IJ hopes to better inform parents, the public, the media, and lawmakers as they examine this issue.