First, find out what school choice options are available for families in your state. You may be surprised by the choices you already have. Or, your state may be working to pass opportunity scholarship legislation. For information on your state, visit The Heritage Foundation's School Choice in America webpage.
Second, based on your state's options (or lack thereof), communicate with your state elected officials about the need to expand school choice for families. You can easily contact your state legislators and request they support opportunity scholarship programs by using our online Action Center, and entering your ZIP code at the bottom of the page.
It's especially important for legislators to hear from men and women like you – parents concerned about their children – because it's much more common for our Members of Congress to send their children to private school than it is for the general population. In fact, according to an annual survey of Congress conducted by the Heritage Foundation, approximately 44 percent of senators and 36 percent of representatives with school-age children have at some point sent their kids to private school. Only about 11 percent of American students attend private school.
You can also help make the case by writing letters to the editor and calling talk shows. Some important points to share with your legislators or in your letter to the editor include:
- Parents are the best equipped to decide what type of education their children receive, not impersonal government agencies. Parents, rather than government entities, are most deeply and immediately concerned about the well-being of their children.
- School choice provides a compassionate and fast, efficient way to provide equal education opportunities for all children, regardless of their socio-economic status or ethnicity. There are thousands of minority children who still remain trapped in unsafe, failing and/or low-performing schools. This must change quickly.
Currently, if an upper-class family is dissatisfied with their local public schools, they have the resources to send their children where they wish. An underprivileged family, however, has no such alternative. School choice levels the playing field by making the best schools available to the families who need them most.
- School choice programs are also essential for safeguarding parents' constitutional freedoms to direct the upbringing for their children, especially at a time when more public schools are choosing to promote topics that may be contrary to parents' beliefs, such as homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and one-sided views of Darwinism.
- School choice protects parents' religious freedoms by allowing them to select education options that concur with the principles and values they are teaching their children.