*The commentary below was sent to us and other organizations by the Deputy Press Secretary of the Office of Ohio Governor John Kasich.*
The freedom to pursue our dreams and a better future for ourselves and our children is part of what makes America great. Remembering how Ohio’s longstanding commitment to educational choices for families puts this freedom into practice is something worth celebrating this Fourth of July.
Public schools, private schools, parochial school, charter schools, homeschooling, online schools, and vouchers to attend non-public schools are some of the education options that families and students have at their disposal in Ohio. There is no one-size-fits-all answer in education and Ohio’s array of education options gives families the freedom to find the school setting that aligns best with their values and their children’s needs.
I strongly support this freedom of choice in education and have worked to expand families’ education choices. In my first budget we made it possible for more families to benefit from school choice options and, working with the General Assembly, I’m proud to report that Ohio is adding to these choices in the new two-year budget that I just signed into law.
Education choices are especially important for low-income families who often find themselves trapped in failing schools. That’s not fair. Good schools aren’t just for the wealthy. We have to make sure that every child has a chance to achieve, regardless of where they live, which is why families under 200 percent of poverty now will be eligible for scholarships to send their kindergartners to non-public schools. The program will expand to first graders next year. Also eligible for school choice scholarships are families whose students in kindergarten through third grade are trapped in schools that can’t help their children learn to read.
Not every student’s education needs can be met in the same setting with the same instructional approach. That’s why government should safeguard families’ freedom to make educational choices that respond to the unique needs of their children and which reflect their values. We cherish this freedom in Ohio with our robust tradition of educational choices and, in the process, are celebrating and protecting the commitment to freedom and independence that have made this country great for 237 years—and which will make America great for generations to come.