The School Choice Victory in Missouri Was a Long Time Coming
The political theorist Max Weber said that politics is “the slow boring of hard boards” and boy, school choice legislation in Missouri has been a hard board.
I wrote my first piece arguing for education savings accounts in Missouri in the fall of 2015 and first testified in favor of them during the 2016 legislative session.
Before me, James Shuls was advocating for school choice (and wide, garish ties, it appears) back in 2012.
In fact, the Show-Me Institute has been advocating for school choice since its inception, and finally, at long last, an education savings account bill is headed to the governor’s desk.
It is a time for celebrating. This is a huge win for Missouri’s children. Thousands of students will have access to educational opportunities that they would not have had without the creation of this program.
At the same time, this is just the beginning. We know that the educational establishment will do everything that it can to torpedo this program. Even though its funding is a fraction of a fraction of total school spending in Missouri, and even though piles of federal cash are being shoveled into public school districts, we are going to hear that this program is the death knell of public education and that it must be stopped at all costs. Expect administrative chicanery and legal trickery.
It is now incumbent upon advocates to do the hard work of making sure this program is successful. That means recruiting donors to fund the scholarships. That means making families aware of the opportunities available to them. That means working with schools and other educational providers to open seats to eligible students. That means constant vigilance for administrative malfeasance. It will be arduous and complicated and frustrating. And it will be worth it.
Here’s to a new day for education in Missouri. ‘Ere, the sun rises!