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Students, parents and teachers from Lanakila Baptist School held a special event this week to celebrate National School Choice Week. Joe Kent, Vice President of Research at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, gave opening remarks about why Hawaii needs school choice.

Full text of the Joe Kent’s remarks are below:

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in Hawaii named Aaron. Aaron was a very smart kid, but he wasn’t doing well in public school. Aaron’s parents wanted to send him to a different public school, but they weren’t allowed to.

In Hawaii, parents aren’t allowed to send their kids to other public schools, except under certain special circumstances. But Aaron’s family filled out all the paperwork, for years, and they still weren’t allowed to send Aaron to a different school.

Aaron needed school choice. His family wanted to choose a different school that was better for him.

His family didn’t have the money to send him to a private school, because they were already being taxed to pay for his public school education. But what if Aaron’s family could get that money back?

Hawaii public schools spend about $14,000 per student, yet the average cost of attending private school in Hawaii is only about $11,000 per student.

Studies show that in Hawaii, students who go to alternative schools get much better scores.

What if Aaron’s family could get that money back, and send him to a private school instead?

The solution is Education Savings Accounts. Here’s how it works:

Some of the money is given back to the family in the form of an Education Savings Account. That money can be spent on any form of education, whether it’s a public school, a private school, an online school, or a home-school curriculum.

This way, Aaron could go to a school of his choice, and maybe, get a better education.

Education Savings Accounts, are being tried in 5 states: Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi.

If you’d like to learn more about school choice and Education Savings Accounts, please visit the Grassroot Institute online! Thank you.