Speaking of school choice, here’s a novel idea: Arizona has a program that allows certain segments of their student population the alternative of having 90% of the money that would have gone to their public school education deposited instead into an education savings account. Their parents can then use those funds in a variety of ways, including for private school tuition, tutors, or as savings for college.
The program began with special needs students and has since expanded to several other groups of students. As reported through Heritage (click here for the article):
Arizona is the only state that has implemented this new system, thus far. The Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account program has tripled its active accounts since it began in 2011. The program was originally intended for special education students; however, it was expanded to include low-income students who attend failing schools, children of active-duty military families, and children in the Arizona foster care system. These changes will be in place by the start of the next school year.
What a great idea! Why should children who are home schooled or who attend private school be denied the same tax dollars as all of the children who go to public schools? The parents of the former kids pay into the system too – why will their kids receive no benefit?
These education savings accounts have great potential to empower parents to improve the education they can give their children. Imagine a mid-to-low-income homeschooling family that could afford an extra tutor or put away towards their child’s college education, or a family that would love to put their child in private schools but can’t quite afford it.
I say let’s provide the same options to families in every state. Empower parents to take the money to the educator they want. The only victims will be failing, overpriced programs.
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