Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Louisiana state representative Nancy Landry (R-Lafayette), who chairs the House Education Committee.
In America, we cherish our core freedoms; freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of worship. The Declaration of Independence details our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
What is more fundamental to that pursuit than the opportunity for success that comes with a quality education? Every child deserves an educational environment that meets his needs and gives him that opportunity.
For millions of children, the opportunity for success is defined by their zip code. That’s because governments, not parents, choose where a child will attend school based on geography, not based on the unique needs of the child. Sometimes the schools have long histories of underperformance. Sometimes they are just the wrong fit for a certain child. Either way these young people miss out on their chance to become educated, a key gateway to being both prosperous and free.
For decades, Louisiana has consistently ranked near the very bottom of all US States in education despite per pupil spending near the national average. Louisiana’s poorest students are the worst-served. These children are the most vulnerable and at the greatest risk, so the failure of the system is particularly heartbreaking.
Educational freedom gives every student an equal opportunity to succeed. The freedom of parents to choose the best educational environment for their child based on that child’s unique needs is too important to leave in the hands of a government bureaucrat. Whether it’s traditional public school, charter, private, online, homeschool, or education savings accounts, parents know what environment suits their child best.
The freedom of parents to choose the best educational options for their children regardless of where they live is no less important than the other core freedoms we celebrate in our founding documents that define the law and spirit of our nation.