AFC and ExcelinEd encourage RNC and DNC platforms to embrace school choice

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, and the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), a national leader in reforming education, encourage both the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to embrace school choice in their official party platforms.

“Every child deserves access to a world class education. This is not merely an aspirational goal, but a necessary policy objective if our children are to compete successfully in a global economy,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “Report after report, year after year, reiterates what we know — far too many children are not receiving access to the education they need and deserve. Too many children are missing out. We know that school choice works and we know parents are hungry for more options. That’s why, more than 2.5 million students are exercising some form of public or private school choice. Both parties should be committed to putting the needs of students first and should embrace all forms of school choice within their platforms.”

“Education should be the great equalizer in our society, one that provides the opportunity for every individual to rise, yet sadly, too many students are trapped in failing schools,” said Jeb Bush, chair of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and former governor of Florida. “We need an education system based on the simple premise that all students can learn and where money follows the child, guided by the decisions of parents. When moms and dads have choices, they are empowered to make life-changing decisions for their children. For this to happen, leaders in both parties must embrace and advocate for full school choice. Let’s let results and parents – not entrenched special interests – drive education decisions.”

AFC and ExcelinEd are working aggressively to ensure the RNC platform includes similar language in previous platforms, but also looks to improve and expand its commitment to bold education reform.

“We strongly encourage the RNC to readopt existing language embracing private school choice and expand the platform to include even bolder reforms, recognizing the importance of school choice as a catalyst to creating much needed innovations in our nation’s antiquated education system,” added DeVos.

AFC and ExcelinEd have also joined a coalition of education reform organizations to submit testimony to the Democratic Party, encouraging the DNC to embrace language that fully supports charter schools and public school choice. In numerous states, including Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, private school choice programs have been enacted or expanded with support from Democratic state legislators, and national Democratic leaders have voiced their support for choice, including, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

“We strongly encourage the DNC to reject the one-size-fits-all model of education and embrace at the very least, all forms of public school choice,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a former Democratic elected official and member of the AFC board of directors. “School choice is a life line for millions of low-income and minority families and we encourage the DNC to not turn its back on these families but to progressively embrace all forms of public and ideally, private school choice.”

In a national poll conducted by Democratic polling firm, Beck Research, 65 percent of likely Democratic voters favored the concept of private school choice – an increase of five percent over the previous year’s poll results.

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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.

Launched by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2008, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) is a national leader in the education reform movement. ExcelinEd is a hands-on, how-to organization that designs, develops and promotes sound education policy and provides model policy, rulemaking expertise, technical assistance, implementation strategies and public outreach.