LB364, the Opportunity Scholarships Act, was debated by the Nebraska Legislature last Wednesday. Several State Senators tried to kill this bill, which would help provide private school scholarships to low-income families, with a filibuster. After an eight-hour debate, it fell four votes short of the 33 votes needed to break a filibuster. The vote was 29-18 (two were “present-not voting”).
Our schools thrive on community relationships, built upon a bedrock of local control and family engagement. Knowing the friends and community members who help our schools and communities thrive is critical to human flourishing. Pope Francis has often spoken on the theme of “alienation.” Whether the alienation is from our own family and friends who surround us or the land that we work around us, this alienation is contrary to our human spirit which seeks community with others and seeks to know God through the work of our hands.
Every parent deserves the ability to choose an education that is best for their child. No parent should be denied this fundamental right. LB364 helps families lacking financial means to exercise school choice by increasing the number of scholarships available to those families.
Parents know that every child learns differently and finding a good educational fit can make a world of difference. Families with financial means can move to a better school district or afford a private education, but not all families are so fortunate. They deserve to have educational choices too, no matter their income or zip code.
LB364, then, provides a clear opportunity for children from early childhood all the way through high school to find an educational setting that is best for them. This legislation provides clear opportunities for Nebraskans—like you and me—to make contributions to our education system, so that our state can continue to thrive not only for today but for generations to come.