BNS 789: The COVID Pandemic’s Surprising Silver Lining – Fueling the School Choice Movement

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A landmark new poll shows a monumental shift – with 2/3 of parents now supporting school choice, signaling a major change in the conversation around education options for families.

Brian Nichols welcomes Matt Frendewey, an education reformer with 15 years experience, to discuss a new YouGov poll showing overwhelming support for school choice. The 2020 pandemic exposed problems in traditional public schools, leading many parents to explore new options. Enrollment numbers show more families moving to charter, private, homeschooling and microschools.

The poll found strong majorities support ending zip code-based school assignment, expanding education savings accounts (ESAs) and expanding education tax credits. This support crossed partisan lines and was especially high among Black and lower-income Americans. More states are responding by passing new and expanded school choice laws.

Matt explains how the education system was founded on racist beliefs about the “inherited ability” to sort children. It remains focused on the system over individual students and their needs. The teachers union continues to defend this outdated model, while even many teachers are fleeing to start alternative schools. Attacks on homeschooling signal establishment fears about empowering parents.

Brian and Matt discuss how culture shapes policy – the shift in public opinion will drive more political changes favoring school choice at the state level. Matt predicts funding will become more flexible and portable, not limited to public-to-private transfers. Barriers like zip code restrictions will eventually fail to meet family demand.

To conclude, Matt invites listeners to get involved lobbying their states if on the cusp of passing new laws, and to partner with Yes. Every Kid. Foundation. & Brian promotes his school choice bumper stickers and merch, promoting parent power over educational freedom.

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