Letter to the Editor: Why Republicans support school choice

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By Rosa Robb,
Columbia, Mo.

Education savings accounts, charter schools and other ideas for expanding options for school choice are in front of this year’s General Assembly. Republicans should do whatever they can to increase the options for Missouri family’s to control their destiny when it comes to the education of their children.

Republicans support school choice because we aren’t beholden to edu-crats that fear change over potential improvements in education for Missouri children. We also support innovative ways to improve education because we support having a skilled workforce that can better themselves and the Missouri economy.

Joining Governor Eric Greitens, the majorities in Missouri’s House and Senate should work to expand charter schools throughout the state and to also support scholarship programs known as education savings accounts that help Missouri parents improve their children’s futures.

Charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to operative in a more innovative way – they’re also held accountable for advancing student achievement.

These institutions provide more options for Missouri families with smaller class sizes. Charter schools turn parents into partners and provide children with a world-class education, regardless of where they live. Currently, students are stuck in the school district where they reside – which may or may not be a good fit for that student or family. Charter schools provide options. In fact, 1 in 20 students in America now attend a charter school and demand has never been higher.

Last year, nearly 10,000 Missouri students dropped out of high school. Approximately 38% of Missouri’s college students require remedial courses – that means we paid for their education in those classes twice – in high school and again in college. Several Missouri students live in failing school districts that produce students that face death or drugs as outcomes.

In Kansas City and St. Louis, there are 39 Charter Public Schools with a total of 61 individual charter public school buildings serving just over 23,000 students. This is an 11% growth in student population since 2015. 85% of charter students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

It would be nice to have these options right here in Boone County. If Republicans will lead like they are supposed to and rise above the protest of public edu-crats that fear change more than they support options for Missouri families, we can get this done.

Without charter public schools, families are dissatisfied with their local public school have only two options – pay private school tuition or move.

Republicans support school choice because we aren’t beholden to political supporters that keep us from progress. We also support an economy that believes in the possibility of hard work and determination – education is key to this success.

I encourage Missouri Republicans to be bold and lead on school choice issues.

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