Oh, What a Year It’s Been for School Choice!

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2021 has a new moniker: “The Year of School Choice” with 18 states enacting seven new school choice programs and expanding 21 existing programs. All signs point to 2022 being even better.

What’s really impressive is school choice’s popularity in the midst of a global pandemic, whether we’re talking private school, charter school, homeschool, vouchers or opportunity scholarships.

Here are 14 school choice stories brightbeam readers couldn’t get enough of.

Families Voting With Their Feet

Laura Waters broke down the data that demonstrated a 3% decrease in public school enrollment from school years 2019-2020 to 2020-2021, as more than one million parents opted for charter schools, private schools, or homeschool.

More Than One Million Parents Voted With Their Feet to Choose the Best Option for Their Family

Maureen Kelleher shared that although private schools may be the right choice for many families (including her own), they share some of the same challenges that public schools face. Even still, her daughter will not be returning to public school anytime soon.

I Moved My Daughter to a Private School Only to Find It Has Challenges Too

Alina Adams shares how Simone Biles taught her that it really is OK to opt out of public schools when the school is not meeting your child’s needs—no matter what the critics say.

How Simone Biles Validated My Son’s Choice To Quit Public School

Erica Boucher shares how Arizona’s “Succeed Scholarship” helped her enroll two of her sons in a school with the one-on-one attention they needed.

No One Wins When Kids Get Trapped in Schools That Aren’t the Right Fit

Black-Owned Schools

Denisha Merriweather shares how lower-income families, many of whom are Black, are too often shackled to the public school-to-prison pipeline with no hope for relief. Yet, she believes that Pharrell Williams and other celebrity school founders are joining the many other school-founding warriors—like Myron Long— in an attempt to solve our country’s hardest problems at their source.

Pharrell Williams’ New Private School Will Serve Low-Income Students at No Cost

They Started a School Rooted in Love, Learning and Liberation


Lisa Buie shares how Cameron Frazier is using the HBCU model at Becoming Collegiate Academy—a Black-owned school—to prepare the youngest learners in his north Jacksonville, Florida community for admission to high-profile colleges.

This Charter School Is Giving Students the HBCU Experience Right Now

The Personal Is Political

After nearly two years of pandemic learning, alternative education opportunities are more essential than ever before. Michigan is just one of the states working toward funding students instead of systems.

Michigan’s Student Opportunity Scholarship Act Is Headed to the Governor

Although many parents in Pennsylvania favor school choice, the teachers union always pushes back.

Pennsylvania Families Take Another Hit as Tuition Grant Amendment Fails

Amanda Keiffer tells us that after two years of the Red for Ed movement and two years of COVID mandates and lockdowns that have hobbled the education of a generation of children, fed-up families are finally demanding better educational choices. And lawmakers are listening.

Here’s How School Choice Lawsuits Could Radically Change Education as We Know It

But could there be a catch? Laura Waters waded through this perplexing legislative move in Rhode Island that could easily be a way-too-clever-by-half end-run around public charter supporters in the state.

Rhode Island Says All Kids Will Be Enrolled in Charter School Lotteries, But What’s the Catch?

Ikhlas Saleem points out that, in the midst of the polarizing debate on mask mandates in schools, Democrats are having a “come to Jesus” moment on school choice.

It Took Masks in Schools for Democrats to Realize One-Size Doesn’t Fit All

Colleen Hroncich makes an appeal for funding students instead of the public school system. This would help level the playing field by enabling all parents—regardless of race, income, or address—to choose the educational options that work for their children.

The Simplest Way to Improve Racial Inequalities Is to Fund Students Instead of Systems


(This first appeared in slightly different form on brightbeam’s Project Forever Free.)

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