The Buckeye Institute Fighting to Give Families in Ohio More School Choice

Lisa A. Gates Jul 26, 2019

Ohio’s recently-passed budget included a long overdue victory for Ohio’s families and school choice advocates that The Buckeye Institute has championed for years. Included in the 2,600-page budget bill was a significant expansion of Ohio’s EdChoice program, which provides education scholarships for students from failing public schools and scholarships to low-income families.

As a result of Buckeye’s work, more Ohio families will now have the freedom they need to ensure their children receive a good education. For the first time, families that live in failing school districts will see the number of EdChoice scholarships increase as demand increases—no longer will an arbitrary government cap prohibit students from escaping failing schools. For families who qualify for low-income EdChoice scholarships, those scholarships will no longer be limited to children in K-6, but will available to all students beginning in 2020.

The budget also contained a big win for families who send their children to charter schools, with an additional $60 million to open new schools in Ohio. In addition, charter schools that meet outlined standards and are judged to be a “Community School of Quality” will receive additional funding of at least $1,000 per student. This extra funding will allow these schools to offer a top tier education and will help shrink the considerable funding gap between charter schools and traditional public schools.

Ohio’s changes have received praise from school choice leaders around the country:

Jessica Poiner, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, said of the changes:

“Some of these provisions will have major impacts on how schools operate, while others are new proposals that, if implemented with fidelity, could significantly improve educational outcomes for students.”

While Ohio’s school choice options fall short of what our families and students deserve, these changes represent a significant expansion of choice in Ohio, and The Buckeye Institute will continue to lead the fight until all of Ohio’s families can chose the best education setting that meets their child’s individual needs, and help them break free from the failing, one-size-fits-all system.

Lisa A. Gates is the vice president of communications at The Buckeye Institute.