AFC: School Choice Finds Ally in White House & Congressional Majorities

As public policy positions go, school choice was a big winner in last night’s federal elections as voters elected pro-school choice candidates from both parties. The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice congratulates President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence and celebrates the return to the United States Senate of key school choice supporters Marco Rubio (FL), Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), Ron Johnson (WI), Rand Paul (KY), and Richard Burr (NC). In addition, AFC celebrates the election to Congress of former Democratic state legislator Al Lawson (FL), State Sen. Darren Soto (FL) and State Rep. Dwight Evans (PA) who are also strong school choice supporters.

AFC Chairman Betsy DeVos issued the following statement:

“There is an education revolution underway in America. In election after election, voters have risen up to elect candidates who support bold school choice policies and that was evident on Tuesday, from the statehouse to the White House. More and more voters are rejecting the notion that the government should dictate where children should go to school and are rejecting the failed, one-size-fits-all education policies of the past.  AFC has already begun to pave the way for bold school choice advancement on the federal level and we look forward to working with the Trump-Pence Administration and Congress to ensure every child has equal access to a quality school of their parents’ choice.”

This year AFC, working with allies, led an effort to engage and communicate with members of the House and Senate about the tremendous progress around the country in giving parents more and better educational options. Today, 25 states and Washington, D.C., offer 50 private school choice programs, and 43 states have public charter schools. This is a movement to give parents the power to choose the best educational environment for their children, regardless of whether it’s public, private, charter, virtual, homeschool, or a blend of learning environments. School choice challenges the antiquated U.S. education system by transferring power to parents and challenging the largely underperforming K-12 system that’s failed far too many children for far too long.

While K-12 education – and education funding – is very much a state and local issue, the federal government has a small but important role to play. Congress can immediately reauthorize the Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship Program, a popular program serving children in low-income D.C. families with a 98 graduation rate and nearly 90 percent of those graduates enrolling in college. Congress should also work to change the flow of federal K-12 money to complement what the states are already doing to expand educational choice and innovation and directly empower parents.

President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence made school choice a central component of their education platform. They will be joined by a majority in the United States Congress and a majority of Governors and State Legislatures all across America who believe in giving parents and children more and better educational options. Polls have consistently showed strong public support for giving parents all educational options and voters proved that last night. This is an unprecedented opportunity to work together, in bipartisan fashion, to transform our antiquated K-12 system into a 21st century, student-centered system powered by educational choice and innovation.  AFC stands ready to help make it happen.

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American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.