Editor’s note: This commentary from redefinED contributors Michael Q. McShane and Jason Bedrick appeared today on the Washington Examiner.
The Wall Street Journal declared 2011 the “Year of School Choice,” highlighting the 13 states that enacted new school choice legislation and the 28 states that attempted to tackle the issue. Forward-looking governors such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Mitch Daniels in Indiana championed legislation to expand educational opportunity for hundreds of thousands of children across the county.
A decade later, states appear poised to break that record.
More than 30 states are considering legislation to create or expand educational choice programs. So far this year, school choice bills have cleared at least one committee in 16 states and passed at least one legislative chamber in 12 states. Two states, West Virginia and Kentucky, have already enacted new educational choice laws.
But it’s not just the quantity of bills that’s impressive, it’s also the quality. At least 23 states are considering K-12 education savings accounts, which are an improvement over school vouchers and tax-credit scholarships because they give families much greater freedom and flexibility to customize their child’s education.
In addition to tuition, ESAs can be used for tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, online courses, special education therapy, and more. Unused funds can even be rolled over to save for future educational expenses.
To read more, click here.