Education Freedom in Montana
"School choice means giving parents the flexibility to direct their child’s education."
“Education… means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light by which men can only be made free.” – Frederick Douglass
It is school choice week and parents across the country are celebrating education freedom. School choice week is a week-long celebration in which educators, parents and students unite to share how granting more education freedom allows students to get an education that fits the unique needs of each child. Fundamentally, school choice means giving parents the flexibility to direct their child’s education. Frontier Institute President & CEO said it best, “supporting the right of parents to — ‘ahem’ — parent seems like common sense.”
Yet, despite overwhelming support for parental participation in their child’s education some Montana public school officials disagree, even going so far as calling the idea of allowing parents to opt out of school district policies and find an alternative “dangerous and absurd.”
The right of parents to control their child’s education came to a head when Billings parents protested school mask mandates and Bozeman parents gained national attention when they succeeded in reversing a policy they viewed as advancing Critical Race Theory. These debates have made Montana parents realize that the lack of education freedom in Montana poses a serious risk to their child’s education opportunities.
In Kendall Cotton’s recent column he put it this way,
“Parents have an option to enroll children in a virtual learning platform, but the reality is not all students learn well through this method. Unless parents are wealthy enough to pay for an alternative school or lucky enough to find a support system to facilitate homeschooling, they are stuck with no control over what becomes of their child’s education.”
While other states have embraced education freedom, Montana parents have few options, but it doesn’t have to be this way. This school choice week we invite you to explore the ways in which other states have embraced education freedom and granted parents more freedom to direct their child’s education.
It goes without saying that much of the modern world has been made possible by electricity but as debates regarding how to generate this electricity have expanded, geothermal energy is often left out of the conversation.
In geothermal energy models electricity is created by harnessing heat originating from the earth’s core, which generates steam that can power turbines. As you can see in the photo below there are a number of sites in Montana that have been identified as potential sites for geothermal power, however regulatory barriers often stand in the way.
In this month’s featured article PERC Policy Director Hannah Downey explains how this innovative renewable energy source is being stifled by excessive regulations.
“Approximately 90% of geothermal potential in the United States using today’s technology is on federal Bureau of Land Management lands and will require a lease and permit to develop. Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 streamlined the permitting process for oil and gas wells, but that provision does not include geothermal wells. Instead, any geothermal energy exploration or development must go through environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), resulting in an average development timeline of eight years.”
Our increasing reliance on electricity is not going anywhere and removing regulatory barriers to innovative energy sources like geothermal energy will ensure safe and sustainable energy for many years to come.