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Some major school choice initiatives are headed down the legislative pike, and, if enacted, they promise to help tens of thousands of Ohio kids who are low- and middle-income and who attend both public and private schools. Yesterday in a press conference, Ohio Representative Matt Huffman (R-Lima) unveiled a package of choice reforms that would ?change the system in a meaningful way for taxpayers and kids.? Huffman's plan, which will officially be introduced next week, includes:
According to School Choice Ohio,
Eligibility for vouchers would increase more than ten-fold. This is the most meaningful school choice proposal we have ever had in Ohio and is one of the most forward-thinking proposals in the whole country.
We agree that the proposed reforms are bold and exciting, not only because of their substance but because of the bipartisan political coalitions that are supporting it. At yesterday's press conference, Rep. Patmon (D-Cleveland), an African American Democrat, spoke in support of the plan. This is groundbreaking for Ohio, where issues of choice have tended to be incredibly political polarizing.?
The second pioneering piece of Huffman's proposal is that it incorporates strong accountability provisions that are absolutely vital to ensure quality education for all children. According to the press release, ?students [at voucher-receiving schools] must take the same state assessments that are required of public school students, and the Ohio Department of Education is required to collect and report assessment data in the same manner that is required of public schools.?
Upholding accountability in parallel with expanding school choice options is critical for these reforms to succeed in the long haul, maintain bipartisan support, and ultimately ensure that kids are receiving quality educational options. ?
-Jamie Davies O'Leary