Every child deserves a high-quality education. But across the country, millions of children remain trapped in schools that are failing or do not meet their needs. Too often, it is low-income and working-class families who are forced to send their children to schools that simply don’t work. These children deserve immediate options.

The American Federation for Children fights on behalf of these children and works to change laws so families, especially low-income families, can access the best schools for their children.

We believe that parents should have a range of high-quality options, including great public schools, public charter schools and access to private schools through school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and Education Savings Accounts. Educational excellence has nothing to do with the label on the front of the school. That’s why it is about a fundamental right for parents to have access to whichever quality educational environment serves their children best.

There is a real need for educational choice in America:

  • An estimated 1.1 million students failed to graduate with a diploma in 2011. That is 6,000 dropouts a day or one dropout every 29 seconds.
  • Nearly half (48 percent) of public schools across the country are labeled as failing, and they serve a disproportionate number of minority students.
  • Only 24 percent of eighth and 12th grade students have solid writing skills. Students who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program scored 27 points below students from families with higher incomes.
  • The national achievement gap between lower- and higher-income students is 27 points.
  • Students who drop out of school are twice as likely to end up in poverty.
  • The United States is ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math in the world.

Despite the best efforts of educators, special interests have prevented real reform. It’s time for bold action. It’s time to empower families with real school choice.

Facts from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, EducationWeek, and The Guardian.