Ohio parents, regardless of their income or where they live, are best-suited to decide where their children should go to school. At the same time, the process for making that decision and turning it into reality should be as simple as possible for Buckeye families.
House Bill 200 and Senate Bill 85 take an innovative approach to empower more parents to find the best educational fit for their children’s unique needs while streamlining the process. Please join us in encouraging Governor Kasich and Ohio lawmakers to embrace this common-sense legislation that has the power to literally change lives.
Ohio’s public schools and teachers are serving most of our children well. But one size doesn’t fit all and families who choose to seek a better option should have support. Demand for the state’s current educational choice programs has been remarkable, with 45,000 students now participating across the state. Not only do these programs meet the needs of tens-of-thousands of families, research has shown that these programs have led to improvements in public schools and save taxpayer dollars.
By combining three existing school choice scholarship programs into a single program, called the Ohio Opportunity Scholarship, families across Ohio will see immediate benefits. Right now, a family must research and apply separately for each of the three different scholarships. With the Ohio Opportunity Scholarship, there would be one source for all the needed details and only one application to submit.
Streamlining the programs will also push government to work smarter and more efficiently, something all Ohio taxpayers can appreciate.
Even more valuable to Ohio families is the way educational freedom can change lives. We must not forget that when lawmakers cast a vote on this bill, they will be telling us a lot about their fundamental beliefs. If we value education and we value all students, then shouldn’t we continue to provide more opportunities for all children to achieve success in the classroom, in careers and throughout life? Since attaining a high-quality education is the foundation for this success, then the answer should be a resounding yes!
The Ohio Opportunity Scholarship would provide more low income families in all corners of the state the ability to afford educational options that better fit the individual needs of their kids. And a high-quality K-12 education is the undisputable method for children and families to rise up and achieve earned success. To that end, this scholarship will help more than just the families who qualify for scholarships; it will help the entire state. When Ohio’s children are prepared to succeed, the state’s economy and quality of life will also benefit.
Now more than ever, it’s critical for students to graduate with high-quality diplomas. As we compete not only with other states but with countries around the globe, we need every student to leave high school with the skills and knowledge to pursue their dreams.
We encourage Ohio’s legislators to streamline and simplify existing scholarship programs and give more parents the same right that many take for granted – the ability to find the best learning environment for their children.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is the Chairman of ExcelinEd in Action. Representative Kyle Koehler of Springfield is the sponsor of HB 200. Senator Matt Huffman of Lima is the sponsor of SB 85. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.