Every Ohio K-12 student would get school voucher under GOP proposal

Valley Christian Academy in Aurora, Ohio, one of 1,079 private schools in the state that serve more than 212,500 children, exists “to build a godly foundation in its students through Christ-centered education in cooperation with the Christian home and church so that students know, love and obey Jesus Christ.”

Editor’s note: This article appeared Tuesday on Ohio’s fox8.com.

Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill to provide cash to all families with school-aged children in the state to choose their public school district or a private school.

Under the Parent Educational Freedom Act, or Senate Bill 368, every K-12 student in Ohio would qualify for a state-funded voucher to offset the cost of attending a nonpublic school of their choice. Current law limits vouchers, administered through the EdChoice Scholarship Program, to low-income students and those in low-performing districts.

“Ohio is fortunate to have many fine teachers and many public schools that work for students, but the one-size-fits-all approach to education simply does not work,” Sen. Sandra O’Brien (R-Ashtabula), the sponsor of SB 368, said last week.

O’Brien’s proposal, if passed, would be the largest expansion to EdChoice since 2013, abolishing all income requirements necessary for voucher eligibility. It would also boost the homeschool tax credit from $250 to $2,000.

Despite the growing popularity of EdChoice – whose vouchers cost the state $315 million in 2022 – the program is not immune to controversy. More than 120 public school districts, including Columbus City Schools, have joined a class action lawsuit challenging EdChoice’s constitutionality.

“In many ways, this is part of an attack on public education, on the concept of public education,” Eric Brown, a Columbus school board member and former Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, said. “And that’s unfortunate on many fronts.”

Since its inception in 2005, the use of EdChoice has become more common among Ohio families. About 57,000 Ohio students used an EdChoice voucher to attend a nonpublic school in the 2022-23 school year – more than triple the 18,133 participants in 2014, according to ODE.

“Parents are the ultimate authority on all matters concerning their children, and they want options,” O’Brien said.

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2 Comments

  1. We should support this bill, and all laws that provide choices alternative to state school systems like Ohio’s, which have had so much harm done to them in recent years by the teachers’ unions that insisted schools be closed throughout most of the 2020-2021 school year, unlike state schools in every other developed nation. Americans like me have had enough; break up the existing state oligopoly, regionalize state educational sovereignty for primary & secondary education, and let municipalities, which should take over for foundering school districts like that in Columbus, before the surrounding region is dragged down by the blight that district leaders appear incapable of reversing.

    • We should support this bill, and all laws that provide choices alternative to state school systems like Ohio’s, which have had so much harm done to them in recent years by the teachers’ unions that insisted schools be closed throughout most of the 2020-2021 school year, unlike state schools in every other developed nation. Americans like me have had enough: break up the existing state oligopoly, regionalize state educational sovereignty for primary & secondary education, and let municipalities, which should take over for foundering school districts like that in Columbus, contract with new local educational agencies, to avoid the surrounding region’s being dragged down by the blight that district leaders appear incapable of reversing.