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Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 10:45am

Hundreds Rally For School Choice

Parents and students of private, charter and virtual schools came together on the steps of the capitol to advocate for more choice in education.

On their agenda this year… legislation that would expand a voucher.

It currently lets kids with learning disabilities use public money to attend private schools.

Senate majority leader Republican Chip Rogers is sponsoring a bill so the voucher would include foster kids and children of parents in the military. It’s similar to legislation he crafted last year but never passed. This year, however, the bill would also make students whose schools have lost their accreditation eligible.

"If a child is at a school that doesn’t have accreditation that threatens the child’s ability to receive the HOPE scholarship," Rogers said. "It also threatens that child’s ability to just go to college. We can’t tell all these kids that because the adults failed you and your school system is not worthy of accreditation, you can’t go to college."

Two school systems have lost their accreditation in the past few years in Georgia because of fighting among school board members. Meanwhile, Atlanta Public schools is on probation with their accrediting body.

Rogers says he would like to eventually see a universal voucher for Georgia.

"We ought to allow the resources we’re spending on that child to follow that child to whatever school they want to go to," Rogers said. "If it works best for the kid, than that’s what we ought to be about."

Opponents say that would essentially de-fund public education.

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