Republicans are still in the process of passing their version of the Republican school choice legislation.
It’s not clear if they will pass it by the end of the year, but if they do, it would make it more difficult for students to attend the more expensive private schools.
And as The American Civil Liberties Union’s Michelle Richardson wrote, it doesn’t go far enough to prevent schools from discriminating against students based on their socioeconomic status.
Here are three ways the GOP can take the fight for school choice to the people.
Make public school vouchers a requirement in every state that wants to allow them.
A recent study found that vouchers, which give money to low-income families to send their children to private schools, have not worked.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, voucher programs are only effective in a few states.
The most expensive voucher program in the country, in Massachusetts, charges students a maximum of $15,000 a year.
But this state has a $3.8 billion school finance system.
In other states, the state would be able to provide vouchers at a much lower cost.
A 2015 report from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that the average student would pay $2,600 more per year under vouchers in New Jersey, California, Washington, and Texas than under traditional public schools.
Increase the number of voucher schools from 10 to 20.
In 2014, there were just 13 voucher schools in Texas, according to a study by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation.
But the number increased by 30 percent in just five years.
That means, according the study, that about one-third of Texas students now go to private school.
According a 2016 report by the Center for American Progress, more than a quarter of public schools are privately run.
This has made it harder for students with special needs to attend public schools and has left many of them without access to a quality education.
Use tax dollars to expand vouchers in urban and rural areas.
If the GOP wanted to expand the number and type of public school choices, they could use tax dollars and school vouchers to do it.
As Richardson wrote in The American Council on Education, voucher systems have helped create millions of dollars of public education funding.
As a result, schools in rural areas have often faced funding cuts.
That has meant that families who can’t afford private school in their communities have been forced to rely on public funding, which has contributed to the higher costs of public schooling.
As long as the GOP keeps making public school choice a Republican priority, the burden of public funding on public education will continue to fall.
The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.