Michigan Parents Back Student Opportunity Scholarship Bills
Tuesday, October 19, 2021|Font size:
Today, the Michigan Legislature passed Senate Bills 687 and 688 and House Bills 5404 and 5405. This legislation would let students across the state use opportunity scholarships. Several families who are challenging the state constitution’s anti-religious Blaine Amendment support this move, as does the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which represents them in court. Their statements are included below. Ben DeGrow, the Mackinac Center’s director of education policy, also offers his comments on the legislation that was advanced in the Legislature today.
Jessie Bagos, Royal Oak, parent of two first grade students:“To have the option of real school choice, to let parents be in charge of the funds for their children’s education, would be life-changing. For everyone, not just us. I can only imagine if Michigan had a program like this before that our boys would not have had to suffer so much with months of learning at the computer. It would have given them a kindergarten year that was a positive experience. Having these scholarships in the future would make it possible for us to give them so many more opportunities to learn and thrive and succeed in their future lives.”
Jill Hile, Kalamazoo, parent of a first grade student:“Being able to use funds from our education account would help provide more financial security for our family and our children’s future. From this current situation we know the future is unpredictable, so if we can use that savings now it would provide even more security down the road.”
Samantha Jacokes, Milford, parent of two high school students:“Many families have had to make a change in their children’s education path due to COVID-19 mandates, work requirements or location, and educational needs. Our reason for switching schools for our son was based mainly on finding the best fit that guaranteed continuity in the classroom in person and, if required, online. Our public school did not offer the same continuity. The expense was not something we had planned for during his high school years. But because we started investing in his 529 right from birth, we have a significant chunk of money sitting there that could help us afford the next couple years at his school of choice.”
Nicole Leitch, Charlotte, parent to three children in elementary and middle school:“Using the education savings account is important because it gives additional financial supports to families, like ours, to provide better educational opportunities for our children.”
Michelle Lupanoff, Grand Rapids, parent to two high school students:“Parents have the right and duty to direct the education of their children. Because of government policies, many parents can only afford to send their children to government schools, thus limiting those parents' ability to direct their children's education. The government schools have failed to educate our children in the direction of our choice. The ability to use the funds in our education accounts will reduce our financial burden to pay for private school.”
Ben DeGrow, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:“Simply put, today’s developments should renew the hopes of families across Michigan who want to let their kids learn, even as COVID continues to disrupt schooling routines. Elected lawmakers have taken a stand for trusting parents to direct their children’s education and embracing a dynamic and flexible approach that funds students, not just systems. The Student Opportunity Scholarship plan deserves full support. Enacting the program would offer more than a million Michigan students the sort of broad access to education options that’s already available in many other states.”
You can learn more about the Mackinac Center’s work on education here and more about our lawsuit here.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonprofit research and educational institute that advances the principles of free markets and limited government. Through our research and education programs, we challenge government overreach and advocate for a free-market approach to public policy that frees people to realize their potential and dreams.
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