Jillian Schneider | July 23, 2023
(The Lion) — A Nebraska parent schooled a teachers’ union boss for opposing school choice in a video now circulating on Twitter.
It happened as public school activists, such as Tim Royers, president of the Millard Education Association, are currently trying to undo a school choice bill that passed the Nebraska Legislature this May.
“I was supposed to sit there and watch my daughter suffer socially and emotionally and be illiterate because you don’t agree with somebody giving my daughter an Opportunity Scholarship because I couldn’t afford it at the time,” the black mother told Royers. “What’s your solution?”
Royers recommended community schools, which are essentially hubs for social services as well as education.
“What community school option would help my daughter with dyslexia?” the mother asked. “When they were telling me at the school system that they were doing the best she could: the best she could do was she couldn’t read.”
But it’s not just her daughter whom the public school is failing, she says.
“I have so many parents coming to me saying, ‘My kid is suffering. They are coming home crying because they hate school, because they don’t get the help they need,’” the mother told Royers. “We’re supposed to sit here and do what?”
Royers sidestepped the question, saying there are passionate people on both sides of the issue. Notably, the union president has been disparaging of school choice supporters on Twitter.
Nebraska’s Opportunity Scholarships program is the first school choice measure to pass in Nebraska.
It passed at a time when the state’s schools have just a 47% proficiency rate in English and 46% in math, despite spending nearly $13,000 per student. Comparatively, the average private high school tuition in Nebraska costs $8,000.