The Advocate February 2023 - Defending Public Education

February 01, 2023

Public education is under attack. There is no denying that state capitals are being inundated with organizations and individuals who may be promoting “school choice” or the funding of “students not systems” but who have more dangerous goals. Last month, one of those advocates who pushed for (and was successful in getting) the first ever education savings account voucher in Utah said the quiet part aloud; she wants to “destroy public education” through vouchers.

As a national organization, AASA is stepping up to defend and protect public education. Joining other national education groups, we launched the “Here for the Kids” campaign that focuses on elevating the public education system through success stories. And, as the co-chair for the National Coalition for Public Education, we also led a coalition of 50 national education, civil rights, religious, secular, civil liberties, LGBTQ and military-connected organizations to oppose federal private school voucher legislation, in all of its forms, with a particular emphasis on the de-funding of the only federal private school voucher program in Washington, D.C.  

With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, we will once again be busy trying to defeat the DeVos-conceived “Educational Choice for Children Act” which would create a federal tuition tax credit voucher for students funded by taxpayers at $10 billion a year. As part of our advocacy and our realization that the fights to oppose vouchers are much more heated and damaging at the state level, we just released a new 50-page toolkit for opposing private school vouchers. This resource is designed to help legislators and pro-public school advocates oppose attempts to create or expand existing private school voucher programs and focuses on today’s coordinated campaigns against public education. It contains rebuttals to every common pro-voucher argument, detailed talking points and graphics, and elevates accountability and discrimination as major problems in voucher programs.

Another way we continue to support public education as a national organization is through our leadership through Public Schools Week. For the past five years, Public Schools Week has provided an opportunity for superintendents and every other education stakeholder to work together and push back against the narrative that our public schools are failing kids. It provides a coordinated opportunity to celebrate the great things happening in public education, to share information about the investments districts are making to improve public education and meaningfully address students and families’ needs, and to shine a light on the hard work our educators and staffs do each and every day to support every child that walks through the doors of our public schools.

This year, Public Schools Week will begin on February 28. We intentionally stress bipartisanship for this week and ensure that we have bipartisan resolutions introduced in the U.S. Congress. We also encourage governors, state legislatures and others to pass bipartisan resolutions or proclamations for Public Schools Week. You can do you part by sharing through your social media platforms why you are #PublicSchoolProud and share the great things happening in your school communities. There are lots of resources available for you and your teams to access that make participation easy. Please visit our website at

As we look ahead to the possibility that the Supreme Court may take up a case next year that would likely determine whether religious institutions can authorize and operate their own charter schools, there are many legal and political fronts that require unity and strong communication. We hope you know that AASA stands ready to help you and our Advocacy team is ready to assist in your individual or collective advocacy.