Last night, we tuned into AFC’s webinar, “E2 Elections and Education: 2020 and Beyond.” This time around, we got to hear from a great panel of notable voices in education; including former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Kevin Chavous, President of K12 Inc., and Emily Ekins, Director of Polling at the CATO Institute.
This discussion was all about how the election results could impact education, from potential Secretary of Education front runners we will see in the Biden administration, to how the partisan shifts in state legislatures across the country will affect school choice.
Kevin Chavous thinks we will see an “explosion” in school choice options as a result of the pandemic. Well…
We certainly hope he is right. His reasoning makes sense, though, in the context of the divisiveness we’re seeing in American politics right now. As he put it, school choice has the potential to become a meat and potatoes issue that everyone can get behind.
Since the pandemic started, every family has had to adjust how their children learn, and what parent would have been satisfied with fewer options as opposed to more?
Mr. Chavous predicts we will see a shift in attitudes toward school choice by elected officials in states including Florida, Arizona, and Illinois, where he anticipates there will be an expanded appetite by Democratic and African American legislators to support vouchers and charter schools. As he put it, “more parent choice will lead to more activism.”
Governor Walker reminds us how hard it is for lawmakers to say “no” to families who stop by their capitol offices to tell them how well the alternative school option they’ve chosen works for their family – whether that’s a tax credit, scholarship, or some other means. Directly addressing our decision makers matters – we know this works.
Telling your family’s story, according to the former Governor, can make all the difference. He tells the story of a mother he met from Appleton, Wisconsin. Her son was bullied at his local school; he was far from thriving. She decided to make a change. Taking advantage of the state’s renowned voucher program, her son is now at parochial school. He’s playing football, loving band practice, and is finally thriving.
Kevin Chavous closed by telling us what advice he would give an aspiring lawmaker, “When it comes to education issues, ask yourself one question. Will the proposal help a child or group of children learn? If yes, support it. If no, don’t. Take politics out of it.”