This Mother’s Day, let’s give mothers the gift of greater education freedom for students and their families.

As a mother myself, I know I’m not alone in my concerns about the state of K-12 education in America today. Sadly, far too many government-assigned schools are failing our children. Results from the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card, show math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders dropped at a historic rate from 2019, when students were last tested. While academic scores were on the decline prior to the pandemic, COVID-era policies had a devastating impact on learning, particularly for young children, students from low-income households, and students with disabilities.

Alarming learning loss is just one problem plaguing our public schools. Too often, ideological indoctrination takes precedence over academic instruction. In some schools, parents are intentionally kept in the dark about the activities of their children and how they are faring in school. Serious discipline problems continue to plague our schools and create unsafe environments. These all contribute to the severe crisis that far too many of today’s students find themselves trapped in.

As parents, we are in a better position to shield our children from these realities and have more say in how and where they learn if education funding follows students rather than prioritizing the needs of systems. Education freedom provides access to greater opportunities by giving students an escape route if their government-assigned schools are failing to meet their needs. If a student is suffering from learning loss and the school is failing to address it, that child’s parents should be empowered to enroll him or her in an alternative educational option as swiftly as possible.

2023 has been a triumphant year for the expansion of K-12 education freedom in the states. Iowa, Utah, Arkansas, Florida, and South Carolina passed laws creating or expanding education savings account programs in which parents can access funds for eligible education expenses, such as tuition, tutoring, textbooks, and educational therapies. Other states, such as Texas, are considering similar legislation. The benefits of choice programs are clear. As IWF’s Education Freedom Center has covered extensively, studies show that when families have greater control over their children’s education, public school performance improves, creating a more prosperous education system for all.

Still, far too many students in other states do not have access to these options. And those who do qualify for these programs may not know about them. In addition to encouraging more states to embrace education freedom, it is incumbent upon us to generate more awareness of existing programs so that eligible students can participate if they wish to.

Why is educational opportunity so critical to students and their caregivers? As Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) frequently says, “Education is the closest thing to magic in America.” As mothers, the greatest gift we can receive is to witness the success of our children. It is parents’ responsibility and privilege to put their children in the best position to thrive. As parents, we know what is best for our children, and we want to make decisions that suit them. We just need policies that put us, the parents, not administrators or bureaucrats, in the driver’s seat.

The gift of education freedom promises a more rewarding educational experience for students and greater peace of mind for parents in terms of what the present and future hold for their children. Fewer restless nights lying awake and brighter futures for the ones we love most in the entire world: What more ideal gift could there be?