'Students First Constitutional Amendment' Would Support Kentucky Families and Students

February 8, 2023

Majority Whip: 'School Choice is coming to Kentucky'

Rep. Josh Calloway speaks on his bill, the Students First Constitutional Amendment, in Frankfort

(Rep. Josh Calloway speaks on his bill, the Students First Constitutional Amendment, in Frankfort)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 8, 2023) – EdChoice Kentucky praised the introduction of the Students First Constitutional Amendment (HB 174), which would bring school choice options to Kentucky families, at a press conference at the Capitol Annex today. State Representative Josh Calloway (R-Irvington), who sponsored the legislation, joined other legislators, advocates and parents to show their continued support for helping every Kentucky student succeed in the classroom that fits their unique needs.
“Kentucky is the only state in the region that does not have a meaningful school choice program. The Students First Constitutional Amendment will allow the General Assembly to empower Kentucky parents to make the educational decisions that help their students achieve,” said EdChoice Kentucky President Andrew Vandiver. 

A recent poll from EdChoice Kentucky showed that a majority of registered voters in Kentucky across ages, genders and regions would support a school choice constitutional amendment. Nearly 75% of Republicans and 60% of independents support an amendment.
“Last year, the people of Kentucky elected the most pro-school choice General Assembly in history. They have spoken loudly time and again in support of more educational choice options,” said Rep. Calloway, who serves as Vice Chair of the House Elections, Constitutional Amendments and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. “Our legislation is simple. It asks the voters to allow the General Assembly to empower parents to use public dollars for a learning environment that will help a student thrive. It is time to stand with the majority of Kentuckians who want to invest in all families, regardless of the school that works best for their children.” 
Already, 16 Kentucky Representatives have cosponsored HB 174. 

House Majority Whip Jason Nemes (R-Louisville) called the Students First Constitutional Amendment a priority for House Republicans and said, "School Choice is coming to Kentucky." 

Kentucky parents Leah Repko and Hayley Duran also spoke in support of the Students First Constitutional Amendment. Their families have witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of putting their children in the right classroom to fit their unique needs.
“I have a son who is neurodivergent and a daughter who has always been passionate about art. I was fortunate enough to have the means to pay for a private school that could provide them with the individualized attention and opportunities they needed. But I know that not all families have the same resources and options,” said Repko, a mother of two children from Richmond. “I hope my fellow Kentuckians will support pathways to increase school choice. If we do so, we can ensure that all of our children have access to the best education possible.”
“I hope that the legislature will take action to expand school choice options for Kentucky families. I believe that giving families more options for their children’s education will result in better outcomes for students and stronger communities overall,” said Duran, a mother of three children from Berea, KY.
Read the full text of the bill here.