Saturday, February 3, 2007

Utah House passes universal school choice - Milton Friedman’s vision is one step closer to victory

The following press release was sent out by the Milton & Rose D. Friedman Foundation. New Hampshire must define an "adequate education" by this summer. This is a perfect opportunity for our legislators to include universal school choice for all students. School choice will not only improve the quality of education but also reduce the costs of education.

Utah House passes universal school choice
Milton Friedman’s vision is one step closer to victory

INDIANAPOLIS—Today, the Utah House passed, by a vote of 38 to 37, what could become the nation’s first ever universal school voucher program. The legislation, House Bill 148, would allow every family in the state to have a choice in their child’s education and would become the first program to achieve Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman’s vision for universal school choice.

“ Utah is getting to the core of what education is all about — learning should be tailored to each student,” said Elisa Peterson, executive director of the Salt Lake City-based Parents for Choice in Education, which has led the local school choice effort. “ Utah parents want the freedom to choose education based on their child’s unique needs.”

HB 148, spearheaded by the tremendous leadership of Speaker Greg Curtis and bill sponsor Rep. Steve Urquhart, would establish the “Parent Choice in Education Act,” that would provide every Utah parent with school-aged children a voucher worth $500 to $3,000 that could be used at any eligible private school. Children currently enrolled in private school who meet the eligibility for free and reduced price lunch would also qualify for the voucher. The voucher amount will based on a families’ annual income.

"Utah's children are smiling today...and somewhere so is Dr. Milton Friedman,” said Peterson. “How fitting that a bill giving choice to all of Utah's children could be passed in the same week that Dr. Friedman was honored."

On Monday, Milton Friedman, who passed away last November at the age of 94, was honored in cities around the country including Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Because of his 1955 essay on the role of government in education, Friedman is widely recognized as the father of the school voucher movement.

"This is the biggest step that has been taken toward achieving Milton Friedman’s dream of liberating children so they can reach their full potential,” said Patrick Byrne, president and CEO of Utah-based and Friedman Foundation board member. “This is the greatest social issue facing our country.”

HB 148 will now be sent on to the Utah Senate. In previous years, broad-based school choice programs have received much support in the Senate. Successful passage there would send the bill to Gov. John Huntsman, Jr., who signed the state’s special needs voucher bill in 2005.

“The victory today proves that in the end freedom always trumps fear,” said Robert C. Enlow, executive director and COO for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation. “Over the past six years, we have been honored to work with so many dedicated Utah legislators and local leaders. Their passion for educational freedom is what has made this possible.”


The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation, dubbed "the nation's leading voucher advocates" by the Wall Street Journal, is a non-profit organization established in 1996. The origins of the foundation lie in the Friedmans' long-standing concern about the serious deficiencies in America's elementary and secondary public schools. The best way to improve the quality of education, they believe, is to enable all parents with the freedom to choose the schools that their children attend. The Friedman Foundation builds upon this vision, clarifies its meaning to the public and amplifies the national call for true education reform through school choice.

For more information on school choice in New Hampshire we recommend the New Hampshire Center for School Choice,

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy

Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers.

"A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. "
Milton Friedman

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