Education Freedom and Policy Priorities: Andrew Handel on ALEC Breakdown
The continuing trend of maximizing education freedom across the states.
Andrew Handel, ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force Director, sat down with Lars Dalseide, ALEC Director of Policy Advancement and Media Relations, talking about the recent model policies passed by the task force such as education freedom accounts, adult learning programs, and preserving freedom of speech. Handel also talked about building upon the education freedom movement based on ALEC’s Essential Policy Solutions for 2024.
The biggest thing is this continuing trend of maximizing education freedom across the states. We had a huge 2023 where a number of different states not only passed new education freedom account programs, which allow parents to spend state education dollars in the best manner for their child but created these programs for every single student in the state regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, household income. We’re really excited to see that and we think there’s going to be continuing momentum there in 2024.
There’s a lot of cautious optimism about a universal education freedom account program. We’ve seen a number of other states that are having those discussions. We are really excited for it. We think 2024 is going to be a big year.
For workforce development, Handel highlighted the focus on technical schools and potential career paths offered with adult learning programs.
There’s a lot of emphasis from our public sector members on creating new pathways to career in technical schools. Across the nation, no matter what state you’re in, there’s all of these skilled workforce areas like mechanics and welders, and these employers just can’t find enough applicants or qualified applicants rather to fill these roles. There’s definitely a push among legislators to make sure that high schoolers are aware of these other post-secondary options and to offer more pathways towards these certifications and help those employers fill those roles.