Democrats and Republicans, whether those who represent either party in public office or their faithful constituents who vote them in, (almost) never see eye-to-eye.
In fact, that reality has stood the test of time within the world’s oldest democracy. And no more is it evident than in today’s circus show we call politics. Now, and perhaps more than ever before, the U.S. political divide is as vast as it is ridiculous. So much so, that almost nothing ever gets accomplished, especially on the federal level.
States are not much better at weathering such upheaval. However, there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on… education.
Ideological cheap shots and memes aside, education, often a political lightning rod of a topic, have found some common ground amongst both political establishments in what Forbes recently published as an “Education Freedom Bull Market.” Across the nation, states from West Virginia to Arizona are investing in education assets designed to allow parents the freedom of spending on their children’s education however they choose to.
It should come as no surprise that such programs are becoming wildly popular. But what is surprising is that both Democratic and Republican-run state governments seem eager to implement them.
But why? Better yet.., why now?
The answer is simple. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are fed up with systemic failures once seen as promising student support mechanisms. This is especially true of minority students and their parents who make up a huge portion of the mass exodus from traditional public schools in recent years. This has placed an enormous burden on public school districts desperately trying to fend off such enrollment losses. The primary reason why minority parents have vacated their students in droves is crystal clear - the quality of the education is not acceptable. Reading proficiency or better among 4th-grade minority students was a meager 20% in 2019, and by 8th grade consistently declined by a point each year thereafter.
This is but one fundamental reason why the need for bipartisanship within educational funding is not only doable but achievable with existing education dollars. There’s even confidence across party lines that there could even be enough funds to provide low-income families not only the tuition money for alternative schools, such as charter networks, but also thousands of dollars each year per student that could be placed in an education account that the families could use for school books, tutors, vocational training, and even to help with college tuition.
This once considered radical idea is slowly becoming a reality in school districts, especially those representing low-income, inner-city schools around the U.S. It is not only necessary but vital for the nation to provide quality education to all that’s both affordable and globally competitive.
Perhaps bipartisanship is a dying practice in today’s political landscape. But when it comes to education, and an education that pays in more ways than one, it’s clearly a win-win for students and states alike.