Education choice supporters win in 2022 midterm elections – Fox News | Team Cansler

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Proponents of empowering parents in educational choices should be encouraged by the midterm election results. States that have made major efforts in electoral politics over the past two years have overwhelmingly re-elected the policymakers who made it possible.

Opponents of educational choice have long claimed that electoral politics is politically unpopular. Although polls showed high levels of public support, opponents such as teachers’ unions were better organized and well funded. Threatening politicians with electoral consequences for supporting an electoral policy was often enough to get fence sitters to vote against empowering families with educational choices.

But the lesson of the Midterms for legislators inclined to support education choices is clear: Fear not!

A group of friends go to school together.
(iStock)

In 2021, West Virginia introduced the Hope Scholarships, which are K-12 educational savings accounts that families can use for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, online classes, special needs therapy and more. The Hope Scholarships are available to all West Virginia students transferring from public school or entering kindergarten, making them the broadest educational choice policy at the time of their inception.

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The bill passed without the support of a single Democrat in both legislative houses, while Republicans overwhelmingly supported it. If the opponents of the educational election were right, then Republicans should have suffered at the West Virginia ballot box. Instead, Republicans expanded their majorities in both houses, winning at least six seats in the state Senate and nine seats in the state house, with five races remaining at the time of this writing.

Additionally, in the primaries earlier this year, three of the 10 Republican defectors with contested primaries lost their races. Support for educational choices is becoming a litmus test.

Governor Chris Sununu speaks during the Concordia Lexington Summit April 7, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Governor Chris Sununu speaks during the Concordia Lexington Summit April 7, 2022 in Lexington, Kentucky.
(Jon Cherry/Getty Images for Concordia)

New Hampshire passed the second-largest educational choice policy in 2021, with about a third of K-12 students being eligible for educational freedom accounts. Gov. Chris Sununu signed it and was easily reelected to a fourth two-year term by a healthy margin (57% versus 42%) in a year in which Democrats won re-election in the US Senate and in both congressional elections.

Though votes are still being counted in legislature races, the GOP stands ready to retain control of both houses of the New Hampshire legislature.

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Several states also significantly expanded their existing education policies in 2021, including Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Oklahoma. All four retained the Republican trifectas, with most parliamentary seats winning, while the three with governor races saw their Republican governors overwhelmingly re-elected.

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers a victory speech during his election night party on November 8, 2022 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers a victory speech during his election night party on November 8, 2022 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida.
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made educational choice a key issue by signing legislation to extend Florida’s electoral policy eligibility to more than two-thirds of students and boasted that the Sunshine State is “a leader in school choice.” ” be. He’s right. The Heritage Foundation’s inaugural Education Freedom Report Card ranked Florida #1 overall and #3 for educational choice. He won re-election by a margin of 59% to 40% and the GOP won seats in both Legislative Houses.

Educational choice support in Pennsylvania is more bipartisan than in most states. In 2021, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Senate Bill 381 to expand the Educational Improvement Tax Credit, providing scholarships for students from low- and middle-income families. Although all six senators in the opposition were Democrats, about a dozen of the 41 senators voted in favour. Although all 47 votes against the bill in the State House came from Democrats, so did 43 of the 154 votes in favor. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.

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Wolf’s successor, Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, made waves earlier this year when he endorsed Lifeline scholarships, a policy similar to the K-12 education savings accounts in 10 other states but limited to students assigned to underperforming public schools . Shapiro will be one of two Democratic governors, alongside Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, who openly support the education election.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaking to Fox News Digital on September 1, 2022.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaking to Fox News Digital on September 1, 2022.
(Fox News Digital/Haris Alic)

In 2022, Arizona took back the education choice crown from West Virginia by extending its education savings account policy to all children, making it the country’s first truly universal electoral policy. Now, the families of all Arizona K-12 students are eligible for an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) worth approximately $7,000 to select the learning environments best suited for their children. Since lawmakers expanded ESA eligibility, more than 25,000 students have signed up for an account.

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Unlike Pennsylvania, Arizona voted along the party line. Though Arizona is still counting votes, the GOP appears poised to maintain their trifecta. Additionally, an attempt by opponents to get the ESA expansion up for a vote failed to garner enough signatures, a result of the heroic efforts of grassroots families supporting the education choice.

As educational choices become more available to families, policymakers are realizing that this need not be a partisan issue. Rather, the choice of education is now rightly viewed not as a Democrat or Republican issue, but as parent-centric or interest-centric. And as Midterms 2022 just demonstrated, those who sided with parents were on the winning side of their competitions.

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Jason Bedrick is a Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy.

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