WASHINGTON, D.C. Today is August 1st, the start of National Back to School Month. As students return to the classroom, parents in close to 20 states are benefiting from expanded education opportunities while families in areas with limited options are yearning for more control over their children’s education.

Ginny Gentles, director of the Education Freedom Center at the Independent Women’s Forum, issued the following statement:

“Our nation’s K-12 schools are serving too many children poorly. Reading and math scores are in a decade-long nosedive, exacerbated by lowered academic standards and union-mandated lengthy school closures during the pandemic. Assessment results released by both the Nation’s Report Card and NWEA reveal alarming math and reading scores and a generation at risk. As a result, students are now unprepared for high school and beyond. Union leaders and education bureaucrats will likely escape accountability for the devastating learning loss caused by their malfeasance, but there are actions parents can take to protect and educate their children.

As children return to school, parents need to ask questions and demand options. Families deserve transparency and choice and they need to make it clear to school officials and district bureaucrats that they refuse to accept the status quo that is failing to educate many students. Much of the $190 billion in “emergency” federal education (ESSER) funding remains unspent. Parents should request tutoring and supplemental programs provided by ESSER funds and ask to see the schools’ specific plans to address learning loss this year. Parents of students with special needs should demand compensatory services. Now that districts can no longer hide behind Covid policies that restricted parents’ access to classrooms, parents should visit their children’s classrooms, and review the lesson plans, books, and materials their children will encounter this year. 

In states that prioritize students over systems and offer scholarship and education savings account (ESA) programs, as well as open enrollment and course choice, parents should explore whether alternative options might be available for their children. With more states offering expansive education freedom policies than ever before, students can access the education environment that works best for them, giving parents  the control and leverage they deserve.

As we head into another school year, parents should ask the questions necessary to ensure that K-12 education prioritizes students over bureaucratic systems and union control.”



Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, opportunities, and well-being.

IWF’s Education Freedom Center (EFC) advances school choice and empowers parents by advocating for a more vibrant education marketplace. The EFC informs the public about the benefits of education freedom and highlights school choice as a solution to the power imbalance between parents and unresponsive school districts.