Speaker’s Poverty Taskforce Highlights Importance of School Choice

The American Federation for Children applauds Speaker Paul Ryan for highlighting the importance of school choice in the newly released poverty task force report, “A Better Way.” The report cites the successful D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program which provides low-income D.C. families access to a quality private school, encouraged Congress to embrace policies that will allow students to obtain an education “regardless of where they live and the difficult circumstances they face,” and includes Denisha Merriweather’s powerful story as a case study of how school choice can break the cycle of poverty.
“The pathway to prosperity is intertwined with access to a quality education, and every child, no matter their family’s income or ZIP code should be afforded the opportunity to attend a quality school of their parents’ choice,” said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the American Federation for Children. “We applaud Speaker Ryan and the members of the House for embracing school choice as a critically important public policy that can immediately transform a child’s life for the better.”
The full report can be viewed here.
Included in the report: 

“Finally, Congress should build on the reforms included in the Every Student Succeeds Act so that every child—regardless of where they live and the difficult circumstances they face—can receive an excellent education and equal opportunity to pursue a lifetime of happiness and success. 

“School choice takes many forms and is an increasingly important lifeline for children trapped in failing schools.

“…school choice can increase high school graduation rates and give vulnerable students better opportunities to succeed. The federal government should do more to support state and local efforts to expand these policies.

“While building on what works, federal policy must allow for state and local innovation to address the circumstances facing the young people in their community while protecting the ability for those children to succeed…. Educational opportunity – as well as systems to support youth and their families in time of need – is instrumental in their success.

“Denisha Merriweather credited a private school choice program in her home state of Florida for ending the cycle of poverty in her family.”

“AFC is committed to working with Speaker Ryan and Members of Congress to develop and advance bold and innovative policies that will maximize parents’ access to the educational environment that works best for their children,” added DeVos. “This includes leveraging federal education dollars, not with new mandates and regulations from Washington, but in ways that will complement what the states are already doing to expand educational choice in America.”

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