Citizens’ initiative would requiring equal funding of public, religious, and private schools and provide parents and children with an easy way out of failing public schools and concerns over curriculum
It’s election year in California, and that means it’s petition and signature gathering season. One hopeful initiative aims to give parents and children greater flexibility when choosing where they go to school, but time is running out.
The “Education Freedom Act,” as it’s dubbed, has until April 26 to submit 1.5 million signatures to advance to the November ballot. Backers are asking that all petitions with signatures be returned to their campaign by the end of March for verification purposes. Unfortunately, signature collection has been going slowly and supporters are urged to immediately join the fight to qualify the initiative.
The measure, backed by school choice advocates, seeks to allow parents to opt-in to a voucher system. These vouchers would transfer the state funding allocated to their students for public schooling into an alternative school program of their choice, like religious or private schooling. Proponents say the goal is to equally fund all students in California.
Mike Alexander, chair of Californians for School Choice, is helping to lead the charge on the measure. He says the Education Freedom Act will help fix parents’ concerns over public schooling curriculum.
“Parents wanting to leave the disastrous public school system would receive a yearly tuition credit of $14,000 per child to attend a private or religious school of their choice and save any money left over for college, vocational training or other qualified expense,” explained Alexander.
If the initiative can make it to the ballot, its prospects are high. According to a study by the California Policy Center, “54% of respondents said they’d vote ‘yes’” on a school choice measure, with 71% of African-Americans and 66% of Hispanics saying they approve.
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, has endorsed the initiative and says it is an important step toward fixing failing schools throughout California.
“School choice is the best way to hold failed schools accountable,” said DeMaio. “If people disagree with mandates or toxic and controversial curriculum or just the poor education their children are receiving, giving parents the choice is the best way to empower them — which will not only help their children by giving the the opportunity to attend a different school but it will also pressure the failing schools to finally clean up their act,” he continued.
DeMaio argued that school choice funding will be a landmark step toward equal treatment in California education. The measure, he says, will allow any parent to choose where state funding is directed to help their child learn and grow.
“$14,000 per year toward tuition — or if you have no tuition, $180,000 towards your child’s college expenses will make a world of difference for California parents struggling to pay their bills under Sacramento’s policies,” said DeMaio. “Shame on the liberal supermajority for neglecting our failing public schools to the point that parents increasingly feel the need to pursue alternatives,” he concluded.
Though, alternatives are not affordable for everyone. That’s why DeMaio is urging Californians to download and sign the petition to support school choice before it’s too late. You can view the petition here:
In addition to supporting school choice and the Education Freedom Act, DeMaio and Reform California are leading the fight to reform school boards and curriculums. You can help restore transparency and remove controversial teachings like critical race theory from public classrooms by contributing to the campaign.
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