Knowledge is power, and so is knowing who has the power

Knowledge is power, and so is knowing who has the power

Knowledge is power, and so is knowing who has the power

Utah has officially joined the school choice-championing wave of education reform that's washing across the country.

Late last month, Governor Spencer Cox (R) signed Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education (HB 215) into law. Jason Bedrick, research fellow for The Heritage Foundation, explains that the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program puts greater control over children's education back into the hands of parents, which is where he says it belongs.

Bedrick, Jason (Heritage) Bedrick

"So if the school is not meeting their child's needs, they can take their money and they can go somewhere else," he details. "The very fact that schools know that those families are empowered to do exactly that means that families have a lot more power when they're at the negotiating table."

Even though the measure also gives licensed teachers a significant pay raise, the Utah Education Association, the Parent Teacher association, and the Utah Eagle Forum fought it. The state school board also opposed the bill, despite the fact that the majority of sitting members are Republicans.

"Rank-and-file teachers are probably a lot more supportive of it than the unions that claim to speak in their name," Bedrick submits. "That's because the unions don't want any alternatives to the system that they essentially have control over."

Iowa's governor recently signed one of the nation's most comprehensive school choice bills into law. Within days, Republicans leaders in Kansas introduced a similar law. At least a dozen other states, including Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, and Nebraska, are also looking to expand their school choice programs.