Where The Governors Stand On School Choice 2020 - EdChoice

Where The Governors Stand On School Choice 2020

Keep in mind that past support or opposition to K-12 private school choice does not mean a proposal will succeed or fail, but a governor’s position serves as a likely indicator of what will happen if a bill reaches his or her desk. 

If you think one of our ratings is incorrect, please contact media@edchoice.org, and we’ll take a look and review our information.  

Delaware

John Carney (D)
Private school choice supporter? UNCLEAR
Supporting material:

Gov. Carney’s campaign did not articulate a position on private school choice. As the former U.S. Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district, Carney voted against the reauthorization of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Indiana

Eric Holcomb (R)
Private school choice supporter? YES
Supporting material:

Gov. Holcomb has signed several pieces of legislation expanding public and private school choice in Indiana. In 2019, he signed a two-year state budget that allowed more students to participate in the School Scholarship Tax Credit Program. 

In 2017, Holcomb signed legislation to expand state-funded preschool to 15 new counties, tying it to the state’s private school voucher program: “This important legislation gives more children in more counties the chance to start their educational journey on the right foot. It will be a joy to sign this bill into law.”

Missouri

Mike Parson (R)
Private school choice supporter? YES
Supporting material:

Speaking at a National School Choice Week event earlier this year, Gov. Parson said, “The only way that we are going to change society is through education. People are going to have to have the ability, no matter where you are at, you have to have the ability to get an education. 

“All forms should be on the table. Kids should have choices. Parents should have choices about where to go to get an education. When you give kids the opportunity to be educated, the opportunity to have soft skills, the opportunity to go into the workforce that is what it should be about.”

Montana

Greg Gianforte (R)
Private school choice supporter? YES
Supporting material:

Gianforte is a longtime supporter of private school choice. According to The 74 Million, “One of the wealthiest members in Congress, Gianforte has funded private school scholarships and poured hundreds of thousands into a Montana group that promotes conservative values, religious freedom and school choice.”

Gianforte briefly served on the board of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which became EdChoice in 2016. 

New Hampshire

Chris Sununu (R)
Private school choice supporter? YES
Supporting material:

Gov. Sununu is a longtime school choice supporter. In 2018, he advocated for an education savings account or ESA bill: “It’s all about creating those opportunities. No matter where you come from. No matter what your background is. Everybody deserves that equal opportunity.”

Earlier this year, he announced he would direct $1.5 million in federal money that came to New Hampshire as part of the CARES Act federal relief package to organizations that give scholarships to private elementary, middle and high schools.

North Carolina

Roy Cooper (D)
Private school choice supporter? NO
Supporting material:

Gov. Cooper came into office with a pledge to eliminate North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, which serves more than 12,000 students. 

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “In a response to a candidate questionnaire from the News & Observer, Herald-Sun and Charlotte Observer, Cooper said that ‘cutting unaccountable private school vouchers’ would be one way to address the projected state revenue shortfall.”

North Dakota

Doug Burgum (R)
Private school choice supporter? YES
Supporting material: 

During his campaign in 2016, Burgum spoke favorably about charter schools. In 2017, he told a local newspaper that charter schools and vouchers “can be effective” in some circumstances but the state needs to “think bigger and bolder.”

Utah

Spencer Cox (R)
Private school choice supporter? NO
Supporting material:

Here is Cox’s answer to a Salt Lake Tribune question about whether he supports private schools vouchers and why during the 2020 campaign:

“The people of Utah have spoken clearly that they support our current system consisting of a strong public education that provides additional choices — charter, private, and homeschool. Our current model strikes a happy medium between allowing parents and students the choice to attend a private or charter school and the comfort of knowing their district school will be a safe and secure option. Further, vouchers would be detrimental to students and teachers in rural Utah. I’m willing to consider alternative funding mechanisms such as vouchers only after our public school system is adequately funded.”

Vermont

Phil Scott (R)
Private school choice supporter? UNCLEAR
Supporting material:

Gov. Scott received pushback in 2019 from Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former education secretary Rebecca Holcombe, who accused him of championing a statewide voucher program she said “would take millions from our public schools and funnel it to private schools that on average serve more privileged children.”

Scott’s spokesperson responded: “Governor Scott has consistently supported the concept of school choice, which we have now in our public schools, as he believes parents should have a say in their child’s education. Supporting school choice—which we have right now—is simply not equivalent to supporting a statewide voucher system.”

“His focus has been on improving equity and expanding opportunity by increasing investment in early care and learning, trades training and higher education, as well as working to find ways to improve efficiency in K-12 in order to have more capacity to invest in education programming.”

Washington

Jay Inslee (D)
Private school choice supporter? NO
Supporting material:

Gov. Inslee has long opposed private school choice, and he fought to prevent Washington from embracing charter schools, as well.

“Inslee was long an opponent of bringing charter schools to his home state, but charters were approved through a voter initiative. After the state Supreme Court struck down charter schools as unconstitutional, Inslee abstained from signing a charter school bill that created a workaround to allow charter schools to remain in the state. Inslee’s abstention allowed the law to go into effect, to the chagrin of charter critics.”

West Virginia

Jim Justice (R)
Private school choice supporter? NO
Supporting material:

Gov. Justice, who switched parties following the 2016 election, does not support private school choice, though he did approve the creation of a handful of pilot charter schools in 2019.

During that debate, Justice said “that he supported ‘two or three pilot charter schools,’ but also 

expressed his distaste for ESAs. He said ‘surely, to the Lord above, we’re not going to lay on my desk the education savings accounts.’”

Receive Educational Choice Updates Straight to Your Inbox.

Email Newsletter Signup

Follow Our Progress.

Receive Educational Choice Updates Straight to Your Inbox.

Email Newsletter Signup Engage

Privacy Policy