The advancement of school choice efforts across the country depends not only on grassroots efforts and enthusiastic parents, but on state legislatures and governors who see the immense value in expanding education opportunities for their youngest residents. 

As 2024 begins, governors across the country are highlighting their successes of the past year and looking ahead to the future of their state. In addition to touting lower crime rates and balanced budgets, many governors are highlighting the school choice reforms in their state addresses and discussing plans to ensure every child in their state has access to the best educational opportunity for the upcoming year. 

Florida, which ranks number one in the country for education freedom, continues to champion choice for students. When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State address, Florida’s strides in school choice was one of the first policy victories he highlighted:

“My message is simple: stay the course. The state of our state is strong. Let’s keep doing what works. Let’s continue to make Florida the envy of the nation. We lead the nation in school choice. Last session, under the leadership of Speaker Renner, we enacted the largest expansion of school choice in American history.”

With close to 1.5 million students enrolled in a variety of public and private school choice programs, Florida is a haven for families seeking out better opportunities for their children. 

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp called upon his state legislature to unite around the issue of education freedom and reminded them that, politics aside, access to school choice is ultimately about students.

“Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of debate around different proposals to expand options for students and families when it comes to finding the education that best fits their individual needs…

Some prefer the term school choice or educational freedom, some call them vouchers.

In my opinion, what each of those terms or slogans fail to mention is the child. At the end of the day, our first and foremost consideration should be the future of that student.

Our job is not to decide for each family, but to support them in making the best choice for their child…

It is time for all parties to get around a table and agree on the best path forward to provide our kids the best educational opportunities we can – because that’s what we were elected to do.”

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who led her state in making historic progress in school choice for Iowans this past year, highlighted why school choice is critical for the future of her Iowa while mentioning students whose lives were changed by new schooling opportunities:

“Last year, we made it our top priority to give all our children a quality education that meets their needs. That meant giving families a choice.  

And that is exactly what we did. In the face of intense pressure to keep the status quo, we passed one of the boldest school choice programs in the country, kicking off a national revolution.  

We laid the foundation, and now Iowa parents—regardless of their income—can decide what’s best for their children.  

One semester in, this new educational freedom is already changing lives.  

Just recently, I heard from a family whose autistic son is thriving in a Catholic school that welcomed him with open arms. I also heard from a father who feels like his boys now have a true shot at the American Dream thanks to their new school.”

Governors also took the time to acknowledge school choice on social media. 

Louisiana governor Jeff Landry posted a video on X affirmed his dedication to empowering parents to choose the best educational options for their children in his state. He addressed parents and said:  

“As we celebrate National School Choice week, I encourage you to remember this: ensuring that the next generation of students receives a quality education is critical for the future of Louisiana’s communities and workforce. When your child succeeds, we all succeed.”

Governor Jared Polis of Colorado offered encouraging words about the success of charters schools in his state over the past 30 years in honor of National School Choice week:

“Well it’s just so powerful to see thirty years of the success we’ve had in Colorado with high quality charter schools in rural areas, in urban areas, really providing choices to parents that simply didn’t exist before.”

Governors on both sides of the aisle know that school choice is a winning message because it delivers observable results that positively impact the quality of lives of children and families. While they all can lead their states to greater education freedom, it’s wonderful to look back on past successes and ahead to what the future holds for American students.