Opinion: The Hill I am Willing to Die on: Education Choice

At one time, the United States of America was considered a global leader in education. Unfortunately, this trend ended around the 1980s after Congress ignorantly passed the Department of Education Organization Act, unnecessarily expanding the federal government’s reach into the lives of Americans and the minds of their youth. Since then, supporters of individual liberty and limited government have faced a lengthy uphill battle attempting to place the power of education back into the hands of parents rather than an overgrown government bureaucracy. Soon after the Department of Education began operations in 1980, Republican leaders correctly placed the concept of educational choice firmly within the party platform, where it has remained for decades. Party leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, as well as many others, have lead this fight for school choice, embracing principles such as limited government, individual liberty, and free-market solutions to address the educational needs of families around our republic.

Today, decades after the creation of the Department of Education, the United States is no longer considered a world leader in education as we have fallen to the middle of the pack when compared to other nations. By many standards, the United States is failing the youth of America in many regards, but namely in terms of their education and preparation to achieve the American Dream. In the state of Missouri, recent test scores have reflected that monopolizing the government school model of education, pouring more money into said system year after year, has failed families and taxpayers. Now more than ever should leaders in our state embrace a concept of educational choice that places the power of educating our youth back into the hands of parents rather than the government.

School choice, limited government, and parental empowerment in the educational decision-making process must remain as key elements of the Republican Party’s commitment to individual freedom and educational excellence. As part of the Republican Party’s platform, we believe in empowering families with the freedom to choose the best educational pathways for their children, ensuring a future where every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. By championing school choice, we are not only respecting the diversity of each student’s needs but also fostering an environment where educational innovation can flourish. This historical commitment to school choice and parental empowerment is central to the Republican Party’s vision for a more prosperous, educated, and free society.

Growing up in the Ferguson-Florissant School District, it was clear to my parents that the government school model was not be best for me. After 5th grade, they decided to send me to a private school in the area, but had to work longer hours, extra shifts, and overtime to afford this investment in my future, all the while their hard earned tax dollars continued to fund the government schools that were failing me and many of my friends. Years later, now as a parent, I took the educational choice fight into Missouri courts after Democrats attempted to kick me off of the ballot. After my daughters were not allowed to utilize the resources my tax dollars were paying for, we made a family decision to purchase property in the public school district where their private school was located. Families should not be forced to work extra shifts, work overtime, or face lawsuits just to ensure that their kids receive the best education that meets their needs.

As Republicans, we must continue to champion educational choice as a core principle of our party platform. We cannot afford to cede any ground on this critical issue, especially at a time when this state and nation’s future prosperity and competitiveness depend on the strength of our education system. By empowering parents to choose the educational path that best suits their children’s needs, we unleash the power of competition by way of the free market, innovation, and accountability within Missouri’s education system. Upholding the principles of freedom, opportunity, and individual responsibility, we can pave the way for a brighter future for all Missourians.

My pledge to you is that I will not waver in my commitment to provide pure educational choice for all Missourians; not just for those that can afford funding their children’s educational needs and a failing government school at the same time. I am committed to working with all individuals and groups to ensure that the federal and state government bureaucracies will not be able to stick their noses in the business of private schools or home schools. Our nation’s founders never envisioned that our republic would handcuff citizens to a government-led education model. They understood that parents knew what was best for their children rather than the government. So let’s finally work together to embrace that vision and prioritize the best interests of all kids in Missouri rather than the bank accounts of government schools and their superintendents.

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