Parental school choice: The civil rights issue of the 21st century

February 13, 2012

By VIRGINIA GALLOWAY – Special to The Telegraph

Georgia’s public school system is broken and our children are suffering because of it. Currently, Georgia ranks at the bottom nationally in education, with a 65 percent graduation rate statewide. Simply put, this is not only a very serious issue, it is unacceptable. Steps must be taken to improve our education system, increase student performance, and help our children find success in school so they can find success in life.

Educational choice, giving parents the power and freedom to choose the best education for their children, has proven results in improving the quality of education our children receive.

Despite this, the Georgia Supreme Court made an unprecedented decision last spring, removing all authority our state had in K-12 education. Thankfully however, legislation has been introduced to restore the role that the state of Georgia has always played in K-12 education by putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot. (HR 1162 was defeated in the House on Wednesday, but may be reintroduced for another vote this week — editors)

This constitutional amendment would allow for the creation of a funding mechanism where the money from the state can follow the child and increase options such as charter schools to serve the needs of each individual student. This is critical — children should not be forced to attend a failing school simply because of their zip code.

Some will say that this is an issue of state versus local control. Rather, it is an issue of making options available to provide parental control of their child’s education. What could be more local than parents? We know that when schools compete, the quality of education and resources improves and children win.

To read the full op-ed, click here.