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Now Is The Time For Universal School Choice

In March 2020, schools nationwide started closing their doors. Government bureaucrats fought to keep schools closed for over a year while parents struggled desperately to cope with mandatory remote learning.

Reading and math proficiency scores declined in school districts across the country, creating the greatest educational inequity in our lifetimes.

But there’s a silver lining…

Parents were provided an opportunity to see the education their children were receiving firsthand. And parents were unhappy.

These same parents flocked en masse to school board meetings with tough questions for their school board members. These same parents were branded “domestic terrorists” by the FBI and subject to surveillance under the Patriot Act after a letter was sent by the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to the United States Attorney General.

States started to abandon the NSBA in a move to defend parental rights. All of this while parents and families continued to abandon the public education institutions in droves.

The tide is turning.

Today, the United States Supreme Court empowered students and families across the country with their landmark decision in Carson v. Makin. The ruling clarifies that states may not exclude school options based on their religious status. The Court has ruled 6-3 that this barrier is unconstitutional.

“A neutral benefit program in which public funds flow to religious organizations through the independent choices of private benefit recipients does not offend the Establishment Clause.”

While there is more work to be done, this ruling continues laying the groundwork for universal school choice.

Events of the last twenty-four months have culminated in the great shift toward universal school choice. Momentum is high. Parents, families, and leaders should keep the pressure on until universal school choice gives families and students the freedom to choose the best educational solutions available to them.

The age of locking students in at failing government school systems arbitrarily based on a zip code is at an end. It is time to stop defunding and defrauding families. A new age is dawning: the age of educational freedom.

By Patrick M. Brenner

Patrick Brenner is the founder and president of the Southwest Public Policy Institute, a limited-government research institute and think tank focused on the southwestern United States. An advocate for open government, he leads the institute's government transparency and accountability efforts.

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