Every parent knows that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for raising kids. Parenting methods that work for one child may be completely out of the question for another child. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of data-driven resources available to help parents navigate the ever-changing journey of parenthood. All too often, we don’t see the same striving for improvement when it comes to educating kids. Why are parents still expected to accept a one-size-fits-all “solution” for their child’s education?

The answer: The U.S. public school system is designed to benefit politically motivated bureaucrats, not parents, teachers or students. Furthermore, parents are forced to pay taxes to fund public schools which may not serve their children’s unique needs. And while children of upper-income parents may have options, kids in lower-income households are generally stuck with the government-run school assigned to their zip code.

Recently, parents have awakened to the rise of school lockdowns, masks, vaccine mandates and woke curriculum that cares more about molding the political views of its students than ensuring solid understanding and workforce readiness. With Maine students’ test scores falling significantly over the last three years, it’s never been more clear that one-size education actually fits very few.

There is a solution to this crisis that some states have already adopted: school choice. Rather than locking taxpayer money for education into government-run schools, school choice puts education funds where they belong: wherever they best serve the student.

The gold standard for school choice is the Empowerment Scholarship Account program in Arizona, with about $7,000 per student per year earmarked for that child’s education. Parents can decide how to spend the funds, be it on private school tuition, home schooling curriculum or tutors. They can also let it stay in the public school system if it’s working for them.

Parents, not unelected bureaucrats, know what’s best for their kids. Many parents would seek alternative schooling options if they only had the opportunity, and school choice through the Arizona program gives it to them. A little closer to home, neighboring New Hampshire passed a school choice bill in 2021, and hundreds of children and their families are now enjoying the options that it has provided.


The U.S. system of federalism allows us to witness what works and what doesn’t work across the states. Maine students deserve the same liberty as those in Arizona and New Hampshire. A bill submitted last month would make it so that, just like in Arizona, Maine parents would be able to decide what type of education best fits their child and fund it using a dedicated account.

With universal education opportunity accounts, public schools would still receive funding – even if the parents of some students choose to send their kids elsewhere. And with an Arizona-style solution, all kids would be allotted the same tax-deductible funding, regardless of their parents’ tax bracket or zip code.

Finally, there would be abundant opportunities for lower-income parents to have access to many of the same educational resources as wealthier parents. School choice would diminish the disparities currently inherent in the Maine education system – where families who can afford to often move to “better” school districts or enroll in private schools – and allow all children the opportunity to get a quality education.

School choice would break up the educational monopoly of public schools that allows them to corner the market without much incentive to improve services or lower costs. And equal funding for students would show us which schooling options earn parental support and enable educators and administrators to innovate and give kids the quality education they deserve.

There’s no time like the present to put Maine kids first by enacting school choice and funding students instead of systems.

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