As a former educator and longtime education advocate, a quote from poet William Butler Yeats has always resonated with me: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
And in order to light that fire in the largest cross-section of young people, parents and students deserve to have the freedom to find the best educational system for their personal needs.
In January, I was appointed to serve as Republican Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. I’m excited to help shape public policy on a variety of education issues during this legislative term, and I will strongly advocate for improving educational freedom and access for all students.
To me, educational freedom means the ability of parents/caregivers to have access to a variety of high-quality educational systems for their children that best fit their students’ unique needs. As of today in Michigan, students have access to a choice in education. That could mean traditional public schools, public charter schools, online school, or homeschooling. All students and families are unique and different. Every student must have access to a quality education that is customized to their needs; this is why education freedom is so important. A quality education gives students the best chance at success in life. And in contrast, an education that doesn’t fit the needs of the student can lead to dreams never fulfilled.
As an education committee member, I will also work to ensure parents have a vital role in their children’s schooling because ultimately it leads to a more engaging learning environment for their children. I believe parents have the right to choose the manner and content of their child’s education. This is why partnerships must be cultivated between students, parents, teachers and the administration. With that said, parents have the right to demand accountability from school districts.
To that end, I recently authored House Resolution 20, which declared Jan. 22-28, 2023, as School Choice Week in the state of Michigan. This resolution was co-sponsored by 39 of my colleagues.
Parents across Michigan have an inherent right to educational freedom in order to best prepare their children for our global economy. Expanding access to effective schools should be important to all our state’s leaders, and I was honored to help recognize the critical role that school choice plays for many parents.
I believe this type of education reform should be a bipartisan issue. Research in Michigan and across the nation clearly demonstrates that providing parents with multiple schooling options improves academic performance.
We need to work better at cultivating a culture of clear communication and partnership with students, parents, teachers and administrators. Together, we can and will do what is best for Michigan’s students.
— Rep. Greene
(Rep. Greene, a first-term
legislator, represents portions
of eastern Lapeer,
western St. Clair, and
northern Macomb counties.)