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Education savings accounts

A radical’s take on educational freedom

This guest post is part of our continuing series on the center-left roots of school choice. It may be hard for younger readers to imagine a time when to be anti-establishment was a position of the political left. Today, of course, the left is so well-ensconced in positions of power and influence in academia, media, the professions and government that those who criticize any of these bastions are immediately labeled as belonging to a neolithic right that does not appreciate the ever-unfolding benefits of the new establishment’s guidance. In the 1960s, though, to be critical of the establishment was the hallmark of...

Is 2015 the new ‘year of school choice?’

The school choice movement has already set a new high-water mark this year. The Wall Street Journal labeled 2011 the "year of school choice," after states either created or expanded 13 school choice programs. But 2015 has surpassed that tally, and then some. Jason Bedrick of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute has been doggedly keeping track. As of my last update in early July, there were 17 new or expanded choice programs in 14 states. On Friday, North Carolina lawmakers finally passed a long-overdue budget that expanded the state’s two school voucher programs for low-income and special-needs students, bringing the total number to 19 new or expanded...

Berkeley liberals and the roots of ESAs

This is the second post in our series on the Voucher Left. Way back in 1978, when Bee Gees ruled the radio and kids dumped pinball for Space Invaders, a couple of liberal Berkeley law professors were promoting a variation on “universal” school vouchers that they believed would ensure equity for the poor. Along the way, they foreshadowed a revolutionary twist on parental choice that would make national headlines nearly four decades later. John E. “Jack” Coons and Stephen Sugarman didn’t use the term “education savings accounts” in their book, “Education by Choice.” But they described a sweeping plan for publicly...