Yesterday was a historic step forward for the school choice movement. Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah signed the Parent Choice in Education Act, which will be the nation’s most aggressive school choice program. The Alliance for School Choice, one of the groups that champions school choice across the country, described the program this way:
“The Parent Choice in Education program will provide a scholarship to every Utah parent with school-aged children that could be used to pay tuition at any eligible private school. The scholarship, which ranges from $500 to $3,000, will be based on a family’s annual income. Children currently enrolled in private school who meet the eligibility for a free or reduced price lunch also qualify for the scholarship.”
Clint Bolick, president and general counsel of the Alliance for School Choice, highlighted the importance of what this program means for the movement as a whole: “With the first state to embrace universal vouchers, school choice has moved from peripheral to central in the debate over education reform. For that reason, this is a huge triumph, not just for the children of Utah but for every child in America.”
Perhaps a better indication of the importance of this development is the reaction of its opponents. Dan Lips of Heritage found this great quote, said by State Representative Sheryl Allen, a Republican who opposes the plan: “This is not the camel’s nose in the tent; this is the whole camel in the tent.”
I hope so and that Utah is just the first on many to give parents and children the educational freedom they deserve.