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    Montana: Battle Ground 2013

    We made 2011 the “year of school choice” and 2012 is shaping up to be no different, but what about 2013?  Many states have finished up their legislative sessions and are gearing up for the 2013 session with education reform looking to take center stage.  One state in particular is shaping up to be ground zero for education reform and that is Montana.

    According to a recent article in the Flathead Beacon:

    “Last week, legislators from six states, including reportedly more than 40 from Montana, attended a two-day conference called “School Choice in America’s Great Northwest” at Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn.  The lawmakers and other attendees listened to school-choice advocates from around the country discuss a range of issues in their field, including charter schools, private school tax credits and education savings accounts.”

    Of course this would be an outstanding development for Montana who would welcome the comparison to states like Louisiana and Indiana, who have taken bold steps to reform their states failing education system. 

    Jeff Laszloffy, whose Laurel-based Montana Family Foundation was one of the event’s three sponsors, said Montana is one of only seven states to have not passed school-choice legislation. Bills have failed at the last two legislative sessions.  But as the school-choice movement spreads across the nation, Laszloffy and other advocates believe Montana’s time has come.”

    Despite repeated attempts at reform, Montana’s lawmakers still remain divided on the issue with both sides of the aisle playing politics as usual. That battle is gearing up to play out publicly and heatedly during the 2013 Legislature, setting up a showdown with public school advocates and causing a divide in the Republican caucus, including among its high-ranking leaders. Critics of school-choice proposals tend to be just as vocal and adamant as advocates.”

    If history tells us anything, establishment Republicans may be the biggest obstacle to reform efforts in Montana.  Despite support among conservatives and libertarians, many Republicans remain fearful of the powerful education establishment.  Unlike Democrats, who publicly dismiss school choice reforms, Republicans tend to be stealthier with their opposition, choosing to speak from both sides of their mouth.  Either way, Montana’s push for reform will open many avenues for school choice reformers to take their fight to the lawmakers themselves. 

    Politics aside, what stands out is the power of a movement that is rapidly gaining steam across the country.  School choice reformers have made massive gains across a wide range of states with momentum picking up steam and creating an opportunity for bold legislators to take a stand.  If Montana is indeed shaping up to be ground zero for supporters of school choice should take notice and gear up for what is certainly going to be an epic fight. 

    Stay tuned to FreedomWorks for more information regarding this campaign.

    Read more here: http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/montana_a_battleground_for_school_choice/28395/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+flatheadbeacon+Flathead+Beacon+Headlines