The school choice movement should be about giving parents the freedom to decide what is the best educational environment and program for their children.
To achieve that goal, it's necessary to be effective in communicating the importance of school choice to a broader audience, not just those that believe in the cause, but also to those who have questions about school choice.
During the Franklin Center's Amplify Choice Conference, which was held at the end of last month in Washington, D.C., attendees were treated to a panel discussing how market or communicate about school choice.
The key take away from the panel was that parents who have made the decision to use school choice to provide their children the education that works best for them are the best messengers to deliver the message that school choice is about giving parents the freedom to decide what is educationally the best for their children.
In communicating school choice we must separate the message from the messenger. School choice advocates are familiar with the message. The cost savings - vouchers and tax credit programs actually cost less while providing a better education. The innovation in educational techniques and programming that result from school choice programs. And the accountability - when competition is introduced higher quality education is produced.
Despite those benefits, there can be no better judge about what is the best educational environment and program for children than their parents. Parents are the best messengers to communicate these messages because you can hear their sincerity and how connected they are to school choice.
The panel demonstrated this fact by sharing videos. One, the Cato Institute's "Live Free and Learn: Scholarship Tax Credits in New Hampshire," is about the struggle over New Hampshire’s Opportunity Scholarship program and some of the families it has impacted.
A second, the Institute for Justice's "Let Kids Escape Failing North Carolina Schools," was highlighted in this article about a legal victory for North Carolina's Opportunity Scholarship program.
Watching the videos drives home the point that the parents who have made the decision to use school choice are much more compelling messengers than a professional school choice advocate in a suit, or a blogger.