Time to Speak —
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Andrew Vandiver

School is back in session. New classrooms, new supplies and new teachers have brought a feeling of opportunity, and maybe a little anxiety too.

Unfortunately for many families, this season is a reminder that their student — and thousands more like them across Kentucky — are trapped in a situation that just isn’t right for them. That may not be the fault of a teacher, an administration or even the district. But when financial circumstances limit opportunity, children are denied their chance to excel.

They need something new.

We read stories from across the country of young people who are thriving because their parents had educational choice and a chance to build a learning environment to fit their needs. EdChoice Kentucky believes every student deserves an education as unique as they are. It’s time we start seeing those success stories right here in Kentucky too.

In the coming months, Kentucky’s students will get their chance through the new Education Opportunity Accounts program. In 2021, our state’s legislators established an expansive new school choice system that’s designed to help every student succeed. It puts parents in charge and gives them the resources to choose the right education for their children.

More than 400,000 Kentucky students are expected to be eligible for these life-changing resources. For some families, that could mean buying school supplies, hiring a tutor, or signing up for an online supplemental course.

It could also help families access an out-of-district public school with a curriculum that nurtures your child’s full potential. In Kentucky’s most populous counties, parents could even use school choice dollars to send their kids to a non-public school, including both religious and secular schools.
Imagine if your child no longer struggled through their school work but instead was excited to learn every morning. Soon, Kentucky parents can gain access to this tremendous new opportunity for our next generation.

With an Education Opportunity Account, the size of a family’s bank account is no longer a determining factor in a student’s achievement. The program was written specifically to serve low- and middle-income earning parents.

For example, a Kentucky family of four earning less than $85,000 annually could qualify to get funds for their child’s Pre-K through 12th-grade education.

This program is funded by generous donors who want the chance to help Kentucky students move to the head of the class. In return, they will receive a state income tax credit. More than 20 states have similar tax-credit scholarship programs that aren’t just popular, they’re also hugely successful for students.

We’re grateful to leaders in Frankfort who created the Education Opportunity Accounts program to help students reach their potential. Their leadership shows that our Commonwealth is committed to the success of all our children, not just those with high-earning parents.

We expect the state government to publish the necessary regulations for the new educational choice program any day now. Once they do, parents will be one step closer to finally getting the chance to choose the right education for their children. If moved along with the urgency that it deserves, the program should be fully implemented in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

If yours is anything like my family, it’s hard enough to plan for the weekend, let alone an entire school year in the future. But the time to get engaged with the Education Opportunity Account program is now. Applications for assistance will open either later this year or early 2022, and you won’t want to miss out.

Visit EducateKY.com today to learn the many ways you can use an Education Opportunity Account to give your child the right learning environment. Find out if Kentucky’s school choice program fits your family’s needs and sign-up to never miss an update. Take the anxiety out of the back-to-school season by choosing where and how your child should learn.

Andrew J. Vandiver is the president of EdChoice Kentucky. Learn more about the Commonwealth’s new educational choice program at EducateKY.com.

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Shop for more than just supplies.
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