Needed: Educational Freedom

Needed: Educational Freedom

WI has good but not great educational freedom

2023 | Week of January 30 | Radio Transcript #1501

With so many schools across the country engaging in activism and radical indoctrination, school choice is more important than ever. In Wisconsin, the Madison Metropolitan School District introduced last week a “gender identity and sexual orientation curriculum.” According to an email sent to parents the week before, the students learned about “different identities, which include gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and sexual orientation.”

“We will be using our morning meeting time to do read-alouds and classroom discussions based around these topics. We will end the week with a rainbow day on Friday!” reads the district email.

This week-long special observance included kindergarten and up. Part of what makes this week in the Madison schools so unbelievable is that the district is right now embroiled in a lawsuit regarding its transgender policies that basically instruct staff to keep from parents how a student is presenting at school regarding his or her gender, unless the student gives school personnel permission to share the information with parents. Common sense would tell most people not to highlight these types of weeks while you’re being sued for a directly related issue. But not Madison.

Bottom line: Parents must be able to protect their children from these dangerous lies and ideas, and school choice allows them to do so.

Last week was National School Choice week—an opportunity to highlight the importance of educational freedom and bring awareness to the educational options that families have in our stateIt is a parent’s right to choose whichever schooling option best serves their child’s needs. This educational freedom also helps students thrive.

In Wisconsin, we take education freedom seriously. We believe parents, regardless of zip code or income, should be able to get their children out of a failing school and into a school that works for them.

Each student in Wisconsin is assigned a district based on their address. While the majority of families send their children to the school in their district, there are many other options. We have open enrollment where a parent can enroll their child in a public school outside their district, charter schools, virtual charter schools, three voucher programs—Milwaukee, Racine, and statewide—regular private schools, and homeschooling.

The Parental Choice programs deserve a deeper dive. The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Racine Parental Choice Program and the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program allow income-qualified families to send their children to private schools—including Christian schools—participating in one of the Choice Programs. Parents can apply to be part of a school choice program. Registration begins in February 1 for Wisconsin’s Choice Programs and runs through April 20, 2023. Information about that can be found at dpi.wi.gov/choice.

Wisconsin also has one of the best homeschooling laws in the country. Parents are not burdened by overbearing restrictions as they are in some states. There are no required teacher qualifications or assessments. Our law was passed in 1983 and has remained unchanged.

While Wisconsin is a national leader in school choice, there is always room for improvement. Universal choice, much like Arizona’s recent initiative, would provide Wisconsin families even more educational freedom.

Thankfully, representatives across the country are working to uphold parents’ rights when it comes to educational freedom. Lawmakers in Virginia, Oklahoma, Iowa, Florida, and Georgia are actively proposing initiatives this legislative session that will expand schooling options in their states. It’s time for Wisconsin to do the same. Governor Evers, if he’s really about “the kids” as he claims, needs to cooperate with the legislature and enact true educational freedom here in the form of “universal choice.” Sadly, he’s vowed to veto any bill that expands school choice this session, just as he has the past two sessions.

It is the right of parents to direct their children’s education, and a large part of that is choosing where their children go to school. Parents know their children best, and therefore are best equipped to choose a learning environment that will best serve their children’s needs and protect them from ideas that contradict their deeply held beliefs.

We need to continue to highlight the many options that parents have for their children’s education while calling on our leaders to ramp up the school choice efforts even more. If you’re concerned that what happened in Madison last week could come to your school district, we urge you to become a champion of educational freedom.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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