We should be celebrating how Ohio’s expansion of school choice will give thousands of families new educational opportunities.
School choice centers around the premise that each child has his or her own unique talents, interests, and learning styles. Choice programs try to find the best school for each child by putting the people who know students best — their parents — in charge of selecting the right quality option for them.
Ohio families have many different school choice options. Parents can select charter schools or choose open enrollment, in which their children attend public schools outside their neighborhood zone, or magnet programs featuring a specialized focus in subjects like science or the arts. Ohio parents can choose from free online learning options available, or can home-school their children.
Ohio also offers a series of opportunity scholarship programs that allow students, whatever their income, to attend the school that works best for them, whether private or public. Some of these scholarship programs focus on specific populations, such as students with autism or students with special needs.
Thanks to additional funding by the Legislature, two existing opportunity scholarship programs will expand in the upcoming school year that starts this fall: the Educational Choice Scholarship Program, for students assigned to “low-performing” public schools, and the Income-Based Scholarship Program, for families of modest means. The funding increase and other actions by the Legislature will raise the current cap on scholarships, while expanding eligibility for the income-based program to all grades from kindergarten through high school.
These programs will continue to open doors for families in Ohio, giving parents access to many educational choices for their children without financial stress.
Ann Riddle, Executive Director of the Northwest Ohio Scholarship Fund