Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it is evident that education freedom has become a focal point in elections. It transcends party lines and geography. Anyone who closely follows Missouri politics knows that education reform has been building momentum for years, and it reached a boiling point during the pandemic. After the recent elections it’s clear that the energy behind the issue isn’t going away. How a candidate plans to vote on school choice is becoming indicative of if they’ll win their election.
Education freedom isn’t just an issue in urban areas anymore. Travis Fitzwater and Curtis Trent, who are both school choice champions, won their primary races in predominantly rural areas. Mazzie Boyd unseated an incumbent state representative in rural Northwest Missouri, in no small part, because of her stance on school choice. Education reform is motivating voters in both primary and general elections too. Bill Allen unseated a democrat incumbent state representative in his general election in the Kansas City area. Much of his campaign was focused on school choice.
Within the Capitol, look no further than incoming House and Senate leadership. The Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and both Majority Floor leaders are all education reform supporters. All four are from very different areas of the state, and they all have very different backgrounds outside of the legislature. They all believe in making drastic changes to our education system. It is one common issue they all agree on.
The energy around the education reform movement is changing the conventional wisdom about how candidates should approach the issue. Candidates have been tiptoeing around education freedom for years for fear that their superintendents were powerful enough to get someone else elected. Candidates are proving that logic has totally changed.
Parents are mad. The demand for education freedom isn’t going away now that kids are back in the classroom, and the paradigm on education reform has totally changed. It could be for a myriad of reasons: You care about the quality of your child’s education, you’re concerned about what is being taught in their classrooms, or you believe that as a parent you know what’s best for your child. What is apparent is that if a candidate wants to run for office, especially in higher profile races like state senate, they need to think long and hard about how they feel about education reform.
Former Missouri State Representative