Celebrating 15 years of school choice in the District of Columbia, Heritage had the honor of hosting Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to commemorate National School Choice Week. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, long championed by Heritage, has been a blessing for hundreds of District students and their families.

“The outcomes for students in D.C. have continued to improve, from the most underperforming district in the country to now one that is on a growth trajectory,” DeVos said Wednesday at The Heritage Foundation.  She went on to urge Congress to implement stronger school choice programs for the future of the nation’s children.

Panelist Virginia Ford summarized the driving message by stating, “The President of the United States shouldn’t be the only one living in public housing that is able to send their children to private school.” School choice has allowed low-income students previously trapped in failing public schools to acquire a quality education elsewhere—an important step on the path out of poverty.

Today, over 50 percent of D.C. students go to schools they weren’t assigned to, and that’s good news. With your help, there will be more good news for students all across America who are being failed by costly public schools. Thanks to your support, Heritage is at the forefront of school choice and education.

With six states adopting Education Savings Accounts, should conservatives leave this in the hands of states, or should we pursue a federal bill on school choice?

Comments (45)

Carol Hayward - January 25, 2019

Leave in the hands of the states

Steve Phillips - January 25, 2019

Yes, leave control with the states.

Ted L Loudon - January 25, 2019

Education is a local issue. The federal government should be completely out of it. Any federal involvement in education is a mistake. Abolish the federal department of education.

Wallace Hansen - January 25, 2019

We continue to push for everyone going to college. That is wrong. We need more going to Vo-Tech schools,etc. I am a retired public school teacher and believe in public schools but not in teacher’s unions.
Going on strike just hurts the students. California and Colorado are very liberal
states( at least Denver). I am for border security but Trump needs to compromise so we can end the Government shutdown.

JE Coates - January 25, 2019

While a foolish consistency can be a hobgoblin of little minds, an intelligent consistency here means that what is an opportunity in New Orleans or Chicago should also be an opportunity in Tightwad, MO. Children and young adults should not be discriminated against in educational opportunities on the basis of their geography. Neither, limited in their choices because of changing and inconsistent political ideologies at state levels, at least not anymore so than is the case already.

Carol Morrisey - January 25, 2019

I agree with J.E. Coates. Well said. I’m all for freedom of choice everywhere. I wonder if it’s even constitutional for districts to tell children where they have to attend school. And private schools should be an option too. Parents are paying those taxes.

Antoinette Vitullo - January 25, 2019

I was shocked to read that School Choice has not been implemented in all schools.
I guess the teacher’s unions blocked this great idea.

Barton L Green - January 25, 2019

Federal involvement has made “unintended consequences” a certainty in so many programs :: Please — no more deep, entrenched bureaucracy complete with perpetual governing boards, expanding regulations, and enforcement teams :: This should remain under the purview of the States, which are sovereign in their own right ::

David Dahlstrom - January 25, 2019

Drive responsibility to the states and let them compare and compete. The should be no common core policy. Bring public schools up to charter school competitive levels through true choice. Disband the Department of Education and divide funding excess to the states based entirely on populations.

Carol - January 25, 2019

This should be in the hands of the states and local govt only. Nothing in the constitution says that the federal government should be involved in education. This is a local issue. Remember that if the feds have involvement in private education then all the rules the federal gov’t imposes on public schools, schools that receive monies from any federal sources, apply to private ones too. This includes laws that allow certain savings accounts exception from federal taxation. Do not hand over the control of your childs education to the federal government. If you do you will see more invasion of your privacy and lose local control. Heritage should be fighting for this principle, a true smaller govt and conservative principle.

Morris Weyers - January 25, 2019

Putting another component of our lives in the hands of the Federal Government is dangerous and unwise. Multiple states implementing a program can give other states guidance on a program that best fits their constituency.

Jim Cramer - January 25, 2019

no Common Core

James Oden - January 25, 2019

Pursue Federal bill on School Choice.

Susan B. - January 25, 2019

I’m with Morris Weyers and Carol on this. We have seen what harm the federal government does to education. The citizens at the state and local levels know what works best for education in their areas.

Betty Kavanaugh - January 25, 2019

I have felt for several years that parents should have the option of where to send their children to school. I even felt vouchers should be an option. My children are now grown but there was a time when I really needed for my children to attend a different school district but it was not allowed even though I owned real estate in the district but had not yet moved into their district.
I am for State or Federal controlled, whatever it takes to give parents the option for where their children go to school.

Judith Stockstill - January 25, 2019

I’m afraid to pursue a federal bill on school choice, mainly because we cannot trust Congress to keep their hands out of pots of money that don’t belong to them. Look what they have done with Social Security.

Andree Nippe - January 25, 2019

It a state issue! Education should be left to the states!

Jim Morrison - January 25, 2019

This should be state or even county responsibility. The feds can/will screw it up. Local pride is both uniting and gratifying. Local competition and pride makes for better systems. People will see and fix local problems, but are overwhelmed by big government edicts. I have faith in local talent, but dismayed by fed and state agencies.

Art Johnson - January 26, 2019

We should pursue a federal bill on school choice. Otherwise the more liberal states are likely to prevent it.

Brendan Davidson - January 26, 2019

The liberal school teachers unions hate school choice. Therefore it must be necessary to have. It would be nice to to know that your children are getting an excellent education instead of a zombie indoctrination.

Arthur Dehon - January 26, 2019

School choice is an expression of Liberty for which our Founding Fathers wisely ordained. It’s a shame States have to be reminded by a Federal Statute.

Richard K Longphre - January 26, 2019

I’m concerned that you are even asking this question. We need less federal government, not more. The federal Department of Education started by President Carter has only exacerbated the problem with education in this country. It should be shut down. Let the states manage education.

Cornelius Dirkx - January 26, 2019

I totally agree that school choice should be National. Please continue to push for that National agenda. Thank you for all that you do and God bless you and America.

David Rumbaugh - January 26, 2019

With no disrespect to Secy DeVos, the entire Department of Education should be shut down. Leave All education to the States. Washington’s interference is the reason there is the educational problems we have today. Let the teachers teach the subject matter and not the test answers. Let the States set the standards to be met.

Jennifer - January 26, 2019

Ideally this is a state and local issue. Citizens need to become involved in their government at the local level and work to govern themselves. Difficult but do-able.

Mona Mistric - January 26, 2019

We truly must limit the reach of the Federal government and this would be a good place to start.
Also, many of the public schools are no longer teaching our children. They are indoctrinating them in leftist policies and setting up a system where they can take the child away from his or her parents if the parents don’t agree with their ideology.

Audrey Kitchel - January 26, 2019

It would be nice if most of the education decisions were left to the states. I would like to see the Federal Government do whatever it could to make it financially uncomfortable for the states that do not implement school choice programs. If families in the liberal states never have an option out their kids will forever be indoctrinated with the foolishness that defines all liberals today. So many families are faced with moving for work and our military families move frequently…it would be nice for them to know that they always had a school choice options in all of our 50 states. I think that country- wide school choice is the best way to see the death of ignorant liberal thinking which would usher in the blessings and prosperity we would all like to see without having to lop off into the sea our east and west coasts:}

Deborah Maerkel - January 26, 2019

School choice is the best way to allow children and parents to vote with their feet. Eventually terrible run school will go out of business and real performing schools systems will be in high demand. Example: Look at the model the USA set up in Japan after WWII. Competition based on educational outcomes is what the USA desperately needs, not more money pumped into failing public schools.

Perry Anderson - January 26, 2019

Success in the area of individual school choice will have to successful at the state level first if it is to succeed at all. The federal level of problem solution creates another bureaucratic solution over time. As federal level agencies have been created over time they eventually end up in the theory of “deep state” which we observe playing out at this very time in history. The federal level of problem solving just creates high level, high payed, autocrats that make decisions for those who will not make the effort to make decisions for themselves. These autocrats carry high educational degrees and we are informed that they are the “experts”. Really, these “experts” know more about raising your children than they do?
I don’t recall seeing any of these
“experts” around my house when I was raising my students.

Sherrill King - January 26, 2019

States should decide…Congress and President should recommend. Also both should investigate why tuitions continue to rise and why professor salaries and benefits have climbed much faster than other professionals in the last 25 years.

linda dick - January 26, 2019

Don’t let the Feds mess this up too. Leave it to the States.

Frank Schwartz - January 26, 2019

The Federal Government should not be in the business of education. This is a states right issue. This is one Federal Department that should be eliminated.

Paul Karl Feeser - January 26, 2019

Our fight is for States’ Rights. But there is much we must also address from the federal level, including school choice, which President Trump described as the issue of our time.The definition of “gender” as either male, or female, must be aggressively promoted and enforced. We must confront the atrocities of so called “transgender”, and protect parents’ rights, among other causes, in every possible way.

Darla - January 26, 2019

Dept. of Education should be abolished along with Common Core, then each state should pursue school choice options.

John Smith - January 26, 2019

Keep the federal government out of education. Abolish the department of education.

Betty Sullivan - January 26, 2019

I don’t believe this issue can be left up to the states. There needs to be a law that makes it possible to have freedom of choice as to where you send your children to school, including home schooling, private school, parochial school or public.

Linda Gilman - January 27, 2019

School choice should be available to every family in America so, yes, the law needs to be at the federal level. My 1st choice, however, would be to get the federal government out of education altogether; close the Dept. of Ed. The closer to home the “bureaucrats” are, the easier they are to reach.

William Coates - January 27, 2019

Congress would surely make a mess of it. States must handle this, as the public can then see which policies work well and which go against public opinion or the Constitution. Corrective action is easier at the state level.

Chris Milord - January 27, 2019

Education primarily ought to be the purview of local areas and the states. Each state should think seriously about the issue of school vouchers to enable parents to have better choices on where to send their youngsters to school. Parents should be able to choose among options such as charter schools, home schooling, private and public schools. Most school funding is generated at the local or state level, therefore the Feds should stay out of the education business as much as possible. The Founders never intended the national government to legislate educational policies. The federal role ought to be limited to defending our liberties through the rule of law and maintaining a robust national security strategy.

linda wigent - January 27, 2019

education should be fee choice and left in hands of the states, not federal gov’t.

Robert Baker - January 28, 2019

Leave in the hands of the states.

Sharon Kempfer - January 28, 2019

Education should be left to free choice and controlled by the states. I think school vouchers are also an issue when a private school that accepts these vouchers has to abide by federal regulations.

Jason Brecht - January 30, 2019

Concur. Leave it with the States.

Jason Brecht - January 30, 2019

Concur. Leave it with the States. America grants us citizens freedom of choice. If the same choice is not available due to geographic reasons, we have the freedom to move to the state which has the choices conducive to our livelihood. If every choice is the same in every state, one can jump to the question of why have states. It boils down to the country is subdivided into portions of self governance, the crux of the republic.

Sharon Brimhall - February 9, 2019

Agree: Abolish the Dept. of Education. Education is a State/Local issue. Re: Colleges/Universities – many have become very expensive “liberal indoctrination” centers for young people who are at a moat vulnerable stage of their lives. Need more technical/vocational alternatives. Sad to see so many young people with large student loan debt!

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