We are excited to announce that OAK (Opportunity for All Kids) is back in action – and needed now more than ever!
With a great board of directors behind them, Devin Foley is taking the lead as the executive director while Annie Holmquist is the new editor-in-chief. You may recognize Devin and Annie from their work over the decades here in Minnesota and across the nation in the education and cultural spaces.
They’re honored to have been asked to support the school choice movement here in Minnesota. And when we say it’s needed now more than ever, we’re very serious.
Across the nation, real school choice is being enacted state by state through education savings accounts (ESAs). ESAs are the vehicle for parents to receive state education funding for their children which can then be directed to any qualifying school or educational institution, private or public, religious or not. You can think of an ESA as very similar to a health savings account, the money goes into the account and the patient is able to take it to any doctor or clinic.
The following states already have some form of education savings accounts: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. Here’s a helpful map from EdChoice.org:
These states will likely be joined by other states in the 2024 legislative sessions, including Alabama and Texas. The hope is to see every parent and student in America equipped with the freedom and means to choose the best school for the family through universal school choice.
And that means ESAs for all Minnesota students, too!
While Minnesota was once a sterling example of excellence in education, over the last few decades the state has fallen hard. As of 2023, less than HALF of our public-school students are reading at grade level.
Yes, you read that correctly, less than half of students in Minnesota’s public schools are reading at grade level according to the Minnesota Department of Education. And that’s just the start of the bad news we’ll be sharing with you.
Opportunity for All Kids (OAK) will be pushing hard in the coming months and years for universal school choice. We don’t see this as an easy effort for justice due to the power of Education Minnesota and the other teacher’s unions. Too much money and influence are at stake, and so the current regime will continue to fight rather than relinquish their grasp on a failed system.
Minnesota parents and students need the freedom and the means to choose the best schools for their families. They may want a safer school environment, a student body culture that reflects what the family values, opportunities for rigorous education, or even variations on education that include apprenticeships and more hands-on-learning.
OAK is here to help make that happen!
Going forward, here’s what you can expect from us as we ramp up our efforts: OAK website updated daily with new content (visit often!), active and engaged social media channels (follow us!), networking with influencers, two e-mails a week (A newsletter with our latest information and articles and then an update from the executive director), and events.
And speaking of events, we already have our first one on the calendar! We hope you can join us on November 15, 2023 for Restoring Excellence: A Roadmap for Navigating Minnesota K-12 Education from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Brookview Golf Club.
Join American Experiment, Minnesota Parents Alliance, and Opportunity for All Kids to learn about the current challenges facing Minnesota’s K-12 education system and what the path forward must include. Attendees will leave with a greater understanding of the state’s K-12 system, ways they can get involved to restore excellence, and helpful resources to navigate the changing education landscape.
We can’t wait to see you!
Click the link here to attend!
Image Credit: Flickr-Lighttruth, CC BY-NC 2.0