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In Conversation – COVID-19, EdPolicy, & the Future of School Choice

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Dr. Corey DeAngelis on AM960 Phoenix

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Opinion

Kentucky School Board Member Threatens to Lengthen School Year for School Choice Supporters

by Matthew Nielsen

Chris Brady, an elected member of the Jefferson County School Board in Kentucky, threatened to delay graduation  for the school district if parents and families support school choice.

While he almost certainly doesn’t have the wherewithal to accomplish such a change on his own, the second term board member has a history of using provocative language.

Brady isn’t alone in his reactionary response to school choice proposals. Two top-ranking democratic congresspeople, Rep. Bobby Scott (D – VA) and Senator Patty Murray (D – WA), blasted President Trump’s education proposal last month in the State of the Union address. NEA President Eskelsen Garcia asserted that parents have rejected educational choice programs.

However, the data disagree. In DC alone, nearly half of all school-aged children attend charter schools. Nationwide, about three million students attend charter schools and private schools account for right around 10% of enrollment in grades K-12.

Parents seem to crave choice and they rarely want to give up their options when they’re threatened. It’s no surprise, then, that comments like Mr. Brady’s of Jefferson County Public Schools tend to encourage support for school choice, rather than what he hoped – the opposite.

What happens next for Mr. Brady, and those of his constituents who disregard his directive to eschew upcoming school choice proposals in Kentucky, is unclear. But it does seem apparent that his inappropriately authoritarian tweets aren’t having the desired effect. Families in Kentucky, and across the country, need to know their elected officials are working for them, not against them.