Milton and Rose D. Friedman envisioned a true revolution in American education. Their ideal was simple but powerful: give every parent the power and freedom to choose their children’s education.
Unquestionably, 2011 was a breakthrough year in the quest to see that vision achieved in the United States. Thirteen states enacted school choice programs (this includes Washington, D.C., and Douglas County, Colorado). A total of 19 programs were enacted or improved—including the creation of eight new programs and the expansion of 11 existing ones.
It’s undeniable—the tide of educational choice is rising. Throughout the nation, parents are demanding options. Reformers are fighting tirelessly to achieve that goal. And state leaders are working boldly to enact it. We at the Friedman Foundation are confident the successes of this year have created a surge of momentum that will sweep across other states in the months and years to come. Americans have more opportunities than ever before to witness the benefits of educational choice in action, and as they begin to see and experience the advantages it provides—to students in choice programs, to families and communities, and to traditional public schools—the demand for effective options will only grow.
This rising tide of reform did not happen overnight. It has been steadily building, buoyed by the wholehearted, tenacious commitment of thousands of parents, students, teachers, scholars, and other reformers throughout the nation who are committed to the vision Milton and Rose laid out years ago.
The year 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of Milton Friedman’s birth. Although the progress of recent months would please him greatly, it would not have surprised him. His confidence in the power and justice of educational freedom gave him faith it would be realized. “I sense that we are on the verge of a breakthrough...” Milton said, “which will then sweep like wildfire through the rest of the country as it demonstrates its effectiveness.”
TheABCs of School Choice is designed to guide your efforts—whether your goal is to promote educational options in your own state, or simply to understand the concept better. We at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice hope you find this guide to be an essential aid as you continue working to give parents the choices they desire—and the education their children deserve.