Key Points
  • Citizens, legislators, and regulators should separate the concept of public education from the monopolistic delivery system and embrace 21st-century methods of connecting students with learning experiences.
  • Legislators should improve or pass charter school laws, striking a balance between innovation, autonomy, and accountability.
  • Legislators should create or expand the type(s) of school choice program that best suits their state: vouchers, tax credit scholarships, homeschooling, and education savings accounts.
  • Legislators and regulatory agencies should be wary of attempts to re-regulate innovative and/or private educational options, which could expose them to the death of the thousand bureaucratic cuts and sacrifice the freedoms that allow them to succeed.
  • Institutions of higher education should be transparent about what outcomes students can expect and how much money they will have to spend or borrow.

An excellent education has long been recognized as key to the American Dream. Unfortunately, the current monopolistic and expensive K-12 education system is failing our students, leaving them unprepared for college, careers, or life. Similarly, our higher education system is leaving students with higher debt burdens and fewer career guarantees than ever before.

While the left argues that our ailing public education system can be fixed with ever-greater quantities of taxpayer dollars, the more than $600 billion we currently spend nationwide reflects a large increase in funds over the last 30 years, in exchange for total stagnation – or worse, declines – in achievement. On the college level, subsidies meant to help college students struggling to pay tuition have instead caused prices to skyrocket well above inflation.

Instead of throwing more money at the problem, it’s time to let parents take back control over their children’s educations by allowing them to apply competitive pressure to schools and educational providers. Innovative, parent-empowering choices such as charter schools, voucher programs, tax credit scholarships, homeschool, and education savings accounts allow each child the opportunity to reach his or her potential. In higher education, greater transparency is needed to ensure that students and parents know what they are paying for, and with what prospects they are likely to graduate.

Instead of endless top-down mandates, these revolutionary inroads into the education system are coming from the states. Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books allowing charter schools to operate, while half the states have some form of private school choice program. The states should continue to expand parent choice and push educational institutions to compete with each other to provide the best product, just like providers of any other service.

Publications

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Model Policies

  • Higher Education Scholarships for High School Pupils Act Final

    Section 1. {Title} Higher Education Scholarships for High School Pupils Section 2. {Basic elements of the Act} Upon adoption of this subdivision in a school district, a pupil who graduates from high school prior to his or her scheduled graduation date, and who achieves a score in the …

  • Digital Teaching and Learning Plan Final

    This bill: Has the following goals: Dramatic improvement in student achievement evidenced through individual student content mastery and state determined assessments Skilled workforce development and employer/student alignment Long-term self-funding through budget savings and tax revenue enhancements Requires the State Board of Education to establish a digital teaching and learning taskforce to develop a plan for digital teaching and learning in elementary and secondary schools; and To develop a Digital Teaching and Learning master plan that will lead to dramatic improvements in student achievement; To develop a financial plan that leads to fiscal sustainability and accounts for the positive financial impact of the program; To conduct a technology readiness assessment of the public education system's current technology resources, instructional resources, and levels of professional development; To perform a school network infrastructure study to determine the technology infrastructure needs of the public education system to implement a digital teaching and learning program; and Report the findings to the Education Interim Committee and the Executive Appropriations Committee [or similar appropriate State education and appropriations legislative committees].

  • Dual Language Immersion Program Act Final

    This Act creates a pilot program, the Dual Language Immersion Program. It directs the State Board of Education to develop a course taught in one of the “critical languages” (as listed by the federal National Security Language Initiative, including Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Hindi, and Korean), which can be either a traditional course or through digital or interactive course modules. The Board shall notify districts of the course’s availability, and may expand the program to include more course offerings subject to demand and available resources. The Act also funds incentives to 15 qualifying schools for offering pilot programs in Chinese, Spanish, French, and Navajo, as well as a 50-50 English-foreign language instructional model. This policy, after amendments, was approved unanimously.

  • The Great Schools Tax Credit Program Act (Scholarship Tax Credits) Final

    The Great Schools Tax Credit Program authorizes a tax credit for individual and corporate contributions to organizations that provide educational scholarships to eligible students so they can attend qualifying public or private schools of their parents’ choice.

  • Inclusive College Savings Plan Act Final

    {Title, enacting clause, etc.} Section 1. {Title} This Act may be cited as the Inclusive College Savings Act. Section 2. {Definitions} For the purposes of this Act: (A) “Account” means an individual trust account or savings account established pursuant to [state code] as authorized by 26 U.S.C. sec …

  • Online Learning Clearinghouse Act Final

    Section 1. {Title.} Online Learning Clearinghouse Act Section 2. {Definitions.} (A) “Clearinghouse” means the clearinghouse established under Section 3. (B) “Data verification code” means a code that is assigned to each student that is unique on a statewide basis. (C) “One credit” and “half-credit” mean the customary academic …

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Task Forces

Education and Workforce Development

The mission of the ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force is to promote excellence in the nation’s educational system, …

Press Releases

  • National Education Report Card Ranks Massachusetts First, West Virginia Last image

    National Education Report Card Ranks Massachusetts First, West Virginia Last

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Kaitlyn Buss American Legislative Exchange Council 202.742.8526 [email protected] National Education Report Card Ranks Massachusetts First, West Virginia Last American Legislative Exchange …

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