In order for choice to work, individuals must be free to make choices. And for individuals to have that freedom, others must defend it. Today, the Friedman Foundation extends our utmost gratitude and support to America’s veterans, who have defended our freedom to choose in so many areas of our lives.
We also recognize and applaud educational systems that recognize our deserving military members and veterans for their sacrifice, including:
- The GI Bill: Enacted in 2009, the Post-9/11 GI bill has allowed hundreds of thousands of veterans access to higher education. As of 2013, more than 773,000 veterans and their family members have benefited from $20 billion in benefits through the program. In its latest Best Colleges for Veterans rankings, U.S. News & World Report lists the top universities by category. Top-ranked universities include Princeton University (National Universities), Williams College (Liberal Arts Colleges), Villanova University (Northern Region), Creighton University (Midwestern Region), Elon University/Rollins College (Southern Region), and Trinity University (Western Region).
- School Choice Programs for Military Families: Increasingly, states are offering special eligibility pathways to children of active-duty military members. Programs that currently offer such a pathway include: Arkansas’s Succeed Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities, Arizona’s “Switcher” Individual Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program, Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, Arizona’s Lexie’s Law for Disabled and Displaced Students Tax Credit Scholarship Program, and Arizona’s Low-Income Corporate Income Tax Credit Scholarship Program. Our hope is that more states will expand eligibility for school choice programs, giving military families access to more flexible, customized educational options for their children.
- Teaching Programs for Troops: As our friends at the Foundation for Excellence in Education highlighted today, the nation now has two excellent programs that allow veterans to take their valuable life experience into the classroom: Troops to Teachers and Teach for America. The U.S. Department of Education created the Troops to Teachers program in 1993, with an aim to help military veterans transfer their skills and knowledge into teaching careers. Teach for America, which recruits and trains teachers in high-need communities, recently launched a new initiative, You Served for America, Now Teach for America, aimed at getting more veterans into the classroom, where they can continue to fulfill their desire to serve others.
Through education-related programs like these, policymakers acknowledge the sacrifice, dignity, skills, and knowledge of our military men and women. Team Friedman would like to join that acknowledgement by thanking active-duty military members, veterans—including our own family members and friends—for their service. Today, we humbly say, thank you.