There’s no doubt that the rise of education savings accounts represents a revolution in the definition of public education that generates lots of excitement in the wonky world of education reform. ESAs can be seen as the ultimate libertarian triumph of the parental choice movement. Whether they succeed or fail will depend, above all else, on whether parents are satisfied.
It’s too soon to know whether ESAs in Florida and elsewhere are truly catching on with parents. But will parents choose to customize their children’s education, essentially creating schools of one, or will they decide it’s a task better left to professional providers or, God forbid, bureaucrats?
Many ESA parents will want their kids to have an educational program that mirrors the structure of what they would have in public school, only better. That is, they’ll want their kids to have physical education, art, music, maybe even dance and horseback riding, not to mention all the academic classes. As a former educator and parent, even thinking about that prospect is exhausting.
Now, imagine adding to that the therapies and specialized instruction that comes with having a special needs child. Then imagine being a low-income single parent and assembling an education for your child while trying to hold down a job. Continue Reading →