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On our podcast Policy & Pound Cake, education freedom is one of the areas to which we lend our voice because we believe it is truly the great equalizer. We are thrilled to delve into the latest report from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on education. This report underscores a fundamental truth – that empowering parents is the linchpin of genuine educational freedom.
ALEC's report card strongly emphasizes the vital role parents play in determining their children's educational path. We wholeheartedly endorse this perspective.
One of the central areas scrutinized by ALEC in its report is the financing of education. Here, we find common ground with ALEC's stance that money should follow the student. In this context, "money follows the students" implies that schools do not receive funding if they leave their school system to attend a charter school or are homeschooled. This concept is controversial, as it injects an element of competition into the educational system. Traditional school systems may be wary of embracing this model because they understand that they must compete with homeschool programs and other innovative school models that often achieve better results with fewer resources. By allowing the money to follow the student, we empower families with more choices and influence over their children's education.
ALEC's report also examines various educational alternatives, including charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schools, and open enrollment programs. Predictably, states such as Florida, Arkansas, and Indiana consistently rank at the top, showcasing their commitment to educational innovation and choice. Conversely, states like New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts are at the lower end of the list.
We encourage all parents to explore the ALEC Education Freedom Index, regardless of their stance on charter schools, homeschooling, virtual schooling, open enrollment, or ALEC's approach to financing. Parents must acquaint themselves with the arguments for these freedoms, as they can potentially transform the educational landscape for their children.
The report is available to download on ALEC's website at alec.org.