Wisconsin Family Shows Power of School Choice in Local Communities

by Erik Telford:

The fight for children’s education will take place not in Washington DC, but in communities across America.

For Knya Green, a student at HOPE Christian School in Milwaukee, school is more than just a building with classrooms. Thanks to her mother’s decision to send her to a private school, Knya, now a senior, has spent the past four years getting personal attention from her teachers and thriving as a family with her classmates.

School Choice“I like that we’re like a close-knit, small school but we are excelling above the big schools in Milwaukee,” she said recently to a group of bloggers. “So that’s what I like about our school, that’s what makes us different.”

Knya’s strive to pursue higher education comes from her school instilling in its students the importance of a college education when seeking a better future. While that passion for a better future is fueled in part by Knya’s dream to be able to provide for a family of her own one day, she says that without HOPE, her college dreams would probably never be a reality. And without the school choice program that allowed Knya’s mother, and not local bureaucrats, to decide where her daughter went to school, none of these opportunities would have even been on the table.

The battle for our children’s future is far from over as long as there are laws in place blocking parents from deciding where their children will be education. And the fight for school choice primarily takes place far from Washington, D.C.; in fact, it primarily plays out in local communities across America.

If we want to reform education and empower parents, local communities need to be aware of the benefits of school choice. In many states, the decision over a child’s future is taken away from the parent and left to distracted bureaucrats and policymakers. Inefficient policies stand in the way of students trying to grow and succeed.

While government bureaucrats deem parents free to make any other choices for their children, holding the most important choice—the ability to choose the best educational options—hostage sets our communities back. One of the country’s most basic principles, that of equal opportunity, is lost when the government plays the role of parent to our children.

The issue of school choice is, at its core, a local one, as families pour tax money into their communities’ school systems. What’s important is that the money follows the child and not the other way around. Some families may choose to send their children to schools in another town. The power of choice creates imminent competition, thus improving failing school systems and learning opportunities for students across the country. Students receiving opportunity scholarships rack up a graduation rate of over 90 percent which is 35 points higher than those who don’t and are cemented in a broken school system.

Because school choice is such a local issue, it often doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. If we want to help our children and improve education, we’re going to have to make sure stories like Knya’s get told.

Erik Telford is Senior Vice President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.


  1. Michelle Rhee's Fradulent Scantron says:

    Sounds wonderful. Almost too wonderful to be true. So let’s do what good students do and ask questions:

    1) What were Knya’s grades BEFORE she enrolled in this school? What did her permanent record look like? How did she stack up to her peers before the school ALLOWED her to attend?

    2) What college is she attending? Is she getting a scholarship? Is she attending the college she wants?

    3) What testing standards were she held to?

    4) The school says it provides a “Christian” education. What exactly does that entail? More generally, what happens to the Jewish, Muslim, atheist, etc. kids?

    5) Suppose the HS has a student body of 300. What happens to the 301st student?

    6) What is the income background of Knya?

    7) What is the average classroom size?

    8) Do you think the average parent, particularly in places that would be identified as high risk, would have the time or the inclination to both ask these questions and attempt to verify the answers? Is there any kind of trustworthy third party that can do this research for them?

    9) What is the average salary of the faculty?

    10) How come the school’s website features all minority students but all white teachers? Where are these teachers coming from, geographically? If not all of them are white, then how come only the white ones are being depicted?

    • LibertyChick says:

      What’s your point? Seems they are just making a point that smaller schools – whether Christian, Jewish, Charter or whatever – are better able to meet the learning needs of the children.

      Also, for now, I don’t think they have to succumb to the Federal Governments Common Core Curriculum that is aligned with Agenda 21 and geared to dumbing down future generations of Americans and indoctrinate them into far left leaning progressive politics.

      The overall quality of education in America has declined since the Dept of Ed has been created and has controlled curriculum and created such failures as “No Child Left Behind”. Before that Federal intrusion into education America was #1 in the world education-wise. Now we’re 26th behind Poland and several other eastern European countries. (Watch the movie “The Cartel” for some interesting glimpses into our education system http://www.thecartelmovie.com/ )

      Best thing we can do for our children is to get the Federal Government out of our schools and return control to the states.

    • In reply to your asinine comments-
      1)Why do you hate? You must be a racist progressive to deny Knya an education anywhere but the failing public schools. Tell me, do you think Woodrow Wilson was one of our ‘greatest’ president’s? Can’t forget FDR or LBJ for that matter. Because they were also racist like you.
      2)Seeing that colleges love to add minorities to their ‘diversity count’ I am sure she will have dozens of offers.The fact that she will actually graduate, unlike the odd’s of graduating in the Milw public school, has already increased her chances 100x to attend college almost anywhere.
      3)Testing standards are done by the state, not as you would suggest, by the ‘choice’ school.
      4)Um, let’s see, public schools are the ‘atheist’ school, and if the Islamic or the Jewish faith would like to go thru the hassle of trying to start up a school in Milwaukee where the teachers union and the school district fight you tooth and nail to start one, please tell them to go ahead.I live in Milwaukee and I see the crap that is pulled-the School Board of Directors and Milw Common Council selling a building that a Lutheran school wanted to buy to expand in the city to a ‘holding’ party(hmm, hiding something?) for $2mil then turning around and paying back that same buyer $4mil. Only in a Democrat run town can the taxpayers lose $2mil on the sale of public property in the same day!! You must know, as an intellectual, that you don’t just find a building, slap a sign on it, open the doors and call it a school.
      5)If the parents in this city would wake up and demand more money be put into school choice then we could have that student #301 and beyond!
      6)What does Knya’s income have to do with the opportunity to attend a decent school? Milwaukee’s public schools ranked so low in the nation that our Mayor should crawl under a rock and hide, oh wait, Barrett, our spineless bureaucrat, already does that. No one in our local media ever questions this pathetic excuse of a mayor. He has done NOTHING for us.
      7) Are you fricking kidding me, what’s the class size? If it’s 100 students per teacher and the student is excelling, “at this point what difference does it make” to quote a great philosopher, your god, Hillary Clinton.
      8) If a parent cares, truly cares, about their child, they will move mountains to do what they can to make sure their child has a better education/life than they have at our failing Milw. public schools.
      9) It amazes me that the teacher’s (not all) in the union say it’s about ‘the children’ as they walk out the door to go on strike because they have to pay for things such as, a co-pay for their Doctor’s appt. or prescriptions. Sure,sure, it’s about ‘the children.’ Private school teachers BELIEVE in the child. If the school performs well the money will follow, although never as much as the union sucks out of the teacher’s pay.
      10)Perhaps this question would be best answered by any teachers in your church who are not ‘white.’ So next time you are at church (are you laughing as much as I am right now?) find those minority teachers who will work for low pay and work longer than 7:30a-2:50p, because to work longer than that would be inhumane now wouldn’t it?

      You must belong to a teacher’s union and you must be a progressive. I live in the real world where crime is rampant, murder rates are high, although our good neighbor to the south, Chicago, makes Milw. look like a dream, schools are failing, crying ‘ we need more money…more money…more money.’
      It’s time to move to Galt’s Gulch and let you progressives get sucked into the toilet you call a city. By the way how’s Detroit’s public school system? Or any city that has been run by Demo party? It took 50 years to destroy a city that had the highest per capita income in the nation in 1961, which was the last year they had a Republican mayor….coincidence? Yeah unions!!!

      May God richly bless your day!

      I am picturing what you look like as you read that -the Wicked Witch of the West having water thrown on her is what I see.

  2. Lloyd Morris says:

    More importantly perhaps,

    1) What are the average graduation rates, college entrance rates, and college completion rates for ALL kids going to private schools vs. charter schools vs kids going to public schools?

    2) What if you hold constant for parents’ income and educational levels?

    3) What are the scores on these criteria for kids in other private schools, charter schools, and public schools?

    4) What’s the percentage and the pattern of kids in this (and other private and charter) school who are (a) rejected upon appolications; (b) kicked out of the school; (c) leave the school voluntarily.

    Note, my grand kids went to private schools until fifth grade. They were smart in whatever school they were in, or learning disabled in whatever school they attended. The private schools ASKED that the L.D. child be sent to the public school, because they “didn’t have the resources” for that child. True, but, conveniently, it also improves their school-wide scores.

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