Cherishing choice in Ohio

Ohio governor John Kasich has a guest post over at Fordham’s Ohio Gadfly Daily celebrating the state’s newest school-choice initiative, the Income-Based Scholarship Program. And he has good reason to celebrate: This newest effort means that Ohio has more private-school-choice programs than any other state.

School choice has a long history in the Buckeye State, as the governor reminds us. The first program in Ohio (and the second oldest in the nation) was created in Cleveland in 1995 and last year benefitted 6,000 students. Additionally, the state’s Educational Choice Scholarship Program, the Autism Scholarship Program, and the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program collectively helped nearly 20,000 K–12 children last year attend a private school of their choice.

Those may not seem like big student numbers, but with every program that’s added and with every student enrolled, Ohio is laying the bricks to build a mansion of publicly funded alternatives to a traditional education. The newest program will start in the fall for Kindergartners who come from households whose incomes fall below 200 percent of the poverty level, and it will grow by one grade level every year.

“Not every student’s education needs can be met in the same setting with the same instructional approach,” Kasich said. He’s right. And now, Ohio has strengthened its status as one of the nation’s most choice-friendly states.

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