This is Ernie … a rising freshman with Down Syndrome who was awarded a scholarship to attend Bishop England High School earlier this week.

Ernie’s scholarship comes courtesy of the St. Thomas Aquinas SFO – a “scholarship funding organization.”

Tax-exempt SFOs like St. Thomas were created as part of South Carolina’s new parental choice program – which enables a handful of students with exceptional needs to avoid the state’s failed government-run system (and its segregated academic environments) in favor of a setting that fits their needs.

Bishop England, for example, is one of several Catholic schools in the Palmetto State featuring innovative, specialized programs for exceptional needs students. Other schools – like Greenville S.C.’s Hidden Treasure – cater exclusively to these students.

South Carolina’s choice program – which you can learn more about by visiting – is exceedingly limited. Additionally it has yet to be approved as part of permanent law – existing instead as a proviso in the state budget (meaning it has to be reauthorized every year). Still it is materially improving people’s lives even as it comes under attack from the state’s government-run education monopoly and its liberal media … just as we predicted it would.

Lawmakers need to expand choice … and make it part of permanent law.

Why? Because this state needs more success stories like Ernie’s … not more of the same failed status quo.