Hrmm, Ya Don't Say? Families Are Seeking BETTER Education Options After Massive Pandemic Learning Losses

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 25 January 2024 04:20 PM
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, school choice scholarships have witnessed a significant surge in popularity, as parents across the United States grapple with the learning loss suffered by their children.

ACE Scholarships, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating better educational opportunities for school-aged children via private school partnerships, has reported a record-breaking 14,090 scholarships awarded to K-12 students nationwide for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The announcement comes during School Choice Week, and the organization reveals that the volume of scholarship applications has nearly tripled over the past three years. The number has risen from 12,311 applications in the 2021-2022 academic year to a staggering 32,113 applications for the current school year. This dramatic increase in demand underscores the growing need for private scholarship programs and the expansion of educational choice programs throughout the country.

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Norton Rainey, CEO of ACE Scholarships, shared with Fox News Digital, "At ACE, we’ve seen time and again inspiring stories of children finding education opportunities that work best for them and excelling as a result. It’s what bright futures are built on." He further emphasized that their scholarship program enables lower-income families to access schools that are best suited to their children's needs.

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Since its inception in 2000, ACE has awarded over 80,000 scholarships to lower-income families across 12 states, amounting to more than $212 million. In Texas alone, a record $4.1 million was awarded last year, benefiting nearly 1,500 students enrolled in public school alternatives. The organization reports that over 200 private schools in Texas have enrolled ACE Scholarship recipients.

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Jon Lineberger, ACE Scholarships Texas President, told Fox, "Increasing choices helps parents find schools that meet the specific needs of their children. Traditional public schools work well for many children, but too many kids are relegated to schools that are falling short acadically, or don’t have the ability to meet a child’s special needs." He further added, "Choice empowers parents to make the best decisions for their children."

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In 2023, the state of Utah selected ACE to administer its educational savings account (ESA) effort, a program expected to provide over $42.5 million in assistance to 5,000 children.

Rainey further commented, "Every child deserves a quality education that allows them to flourish. But not every child attends a school that is safe, academically rigorous, or addresses specific learning needs." He added, "Choice programs give lower-income parents the flexibility to access a full menu of educational possibilities to find the learning environment best suited for their children."

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A national study released last summer indicated that students required approximately four additional months of schooling to bridge post-COVID achievement gaps in reading and math.

These figures highlight the ongoing struggle for academic recovery faced by American students in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted traditional learning methods through extended school closures and transitions to online learning.

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