All eyes have been on Nebraska’s Legislature in recent weeks as they discuss the topic of school choice.
School choice, in essence, argues that the government should allot more money to alternative schools, such as private or *charter schools, in order to give parents more options that would best fit their children.
This money would come in the form of *vouchers, *tax scholarships, tax deductions and *education savings accounts, all provided through taxes.
The argument against school choice is that it would potentially take away money from public schools, which could possibly deteriorate the quality of education at public schools, according to the opposition.
Those against believe that if the government puts this money into public schools, they can revamp programs within existing schools to make them more suitable for more children.
On Feb. 13, senior Sarah Villarreal testified about her experience at a Catholic school to a group of eight senators and proponents of school choice.
“They gave me about five minutes to discuss my experience in a Catholic school and how financial aid helped me to be successful in this environment,” Villarreal said.
“I testified in favor of school choice because I do not believe that it takes away money from public schools, rather it gives parents more options to seek out the best education for their child.”
Villarreal also touched on her experiences within the public school system. “I went to a public middle school prior to coming to Marian,” Villarreal said. “This gave me the opportunity to compare my experience there to the experiences that I’ve had at Marian.”
Omaha Archdiocesan Superintendent, Patrick Slattery, is adamantly in support of passing legislature in favor of school choice.
“LB 295, a tax credit scholarship bill (Opportunity Scholarships) is a bill that I testified at a couple weeks ago in Lincoln. It is a form of school choice that does not impact one penny of the public school funding model, but that does not stop opponents from still fighting against it,” Slattery said.
“We hope to have it voted on in committee soon, and ideally making it out of committee and onto the floor for full debate later this legislative session.”
Learning Services Coordinator Mrs. Jennifer Christen ’96 is in favor of school choice, as she has two daughters in a private school. However, she understands the public school perspective because her husband teaches at a public high school. “It is so hard to chose a side,” Christen said.
“On one hand, I believe that every parent has a right to choose where their children go to school. On the other, I know that my husband has expressed concerns about how tight money is at his public school, and it is so important to have quality public schools for our children.”
Banner courtesy of schoolchoiceweek.com