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ALEC and Other Conservative Groups Push School Choice

Andrew Handel, ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force Director, was interviewed by Zina Hutton of Governing on the launch of the Education Freedom Alliance and its goal of expanding universal education freedom to 25 states by 2025.

To further the cause, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and the Job Creators Network, along with other conservative groups including the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity, announced the formation of the Education Freedom Alliance last month.
The group's goal is to achieve universal school choice in half the states by the end of next year. Andrew Handel, ALEC's education task force director, spoke with Governing about that target and what's driving the big push for choice.

Governing: What made ALEC decide to launch the Education Freedom Alliance?
Andrew Handel: The education freedom movement has been making incremental progress [in recent years], but then it just completely accelerated once the pandemic hit. I think parents got a closer look at what their kids were being taught. Maybe they didn't agree with the content that was being taught or they thought their child wasn't being pushed enough. Parents got involved after the pandemic, and this movement has just turned into a freight train. The Education Freedom Alliance shows a unified front, and we're excited to just help state policymakers and give them the resources that they need to help students and families around the country.
So many public schools obviously shifted on to Zoom once the pandemic hit, and while that was a necessary step in the beginning, Zoom was never meant to be a learning platform. On top of that, teachers weren’t being given the training they needed to teach effectively. Parents saw that and started asking questions about what other options they had and realized that, in a lot of these states, they didn’t have access to other options for education. That led to them really reaching out to their policymakers and encouraging them to get more programs in place for them.


Governing: How will the Education Freedom Alliance work on getting broader access for all parents?
Handel: Here at ALEC, we have our Index of State Education Freedom and we’re happy to walk policymakers through what we’re seeing in other states and offer them the tools and resources to make education freedom happen. Most importantly, we want to be a resource on behalf of students and families, letting them know that this is something that their constituents want as well.


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