By RICHIE MALOUF
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will hold its annual meeting this week, where lawmakers and policy leaders will address education bills focused on parental rights and school choice.
In an exclusive interview with The Center Square, ALEC’s Chief Executive Officer Lisa Nelson and National Chairwoman Karen Fann said they expect lawmakers attending the event to discuss two bills relating to education. The first, The American Transparency Act, is a model policy that requires all public schools to have the necessary policies and procedures for disclosing learning materials online for grades Pre-K-12. The second, The Hope Scholarship Program Act, is a model outlining a universal education savings account to help families choose what schools to send their children to.
Ms. Nelson said that the Hope Scholarship Program Act has helped single mothers move their children to schools closer to home, leaving them better off.
“The stories that came out of Florida after they implemented this many years ago were that there was many, many more African American single moms able to move their kids out of those failing schools, into a charter school, or into a school of their choice closer to their home,” Ms. Nelson said. “Their kids are doing much better for it.”
Ms. Nelson and Ms. Fann anticipate that these policies, along with others discussed at the conference, will help lawmakers empower parents to decide for themselves where to send their children and have a say in what’s taught in the classroom.
“The parents should always have the ultimate choice and decision what is best for their children,” Ms. Fann said. “That might be homeschooling, it might be private schools, charter schools, and by all means, public schools. We are not trashing our public schools in any way, what we are saying is that parents should have the ability to make the decisions best for those kids.”
These model policies on school choice and academic transparency come after Florida’s recent passing of its Parental Rights in Education Bill last March and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory.
“When it does come to public schools, or any school, your job is to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, it’s to teach geography, and history and all those things,” Ms. Fann said. “It is not our job to be teaching sex education to five-year-olds or anything else that probably should be left up to the parents.”