Our present system of delivering publicly funded education is in need of dramatic reform. Educational choice programs provide that reform as they shift the power from state boards of education and school districts to parents. Educational choice programs are growing in popularity with programs in more than half the states and Washington, DC.
Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) have become a popular form of educational choice over the last several years. Unlike vouchers and tax credits, ESAs allow parents to wholly customize their child’s education to fit their child’s needs. There is no one-size-fits-all learning option that is suitable for all children. ESAs thus allow parents to tailor their child’s educational program to meet his or her distinct learning style. Parents may use the funds deposited into their child’s ESA for a variety of educational goods and services including, but not necessarily limited to, tutoring, curriculum for use at home, online instruction, and private school tuition.
IJ’s Model Tax-Credit-Funded ESA Bill provides legislators with the framework to create and enact an ESA program in their state that encourages tax-credit-eligible donations of private funds to non-profit charitable organizations that then award ESAs to eligible students and manage the education savings accounts.
IJ’s Publicly Funded ESA Bill provides legislators with the framework to create and enact an ESA program in their state. This model is a step for legislators to expand educational choice in their state and truly allow parents to be in charge of their child’s education.
School choice has been central to American education policy debate for a quarter-century. But throughout, school choice has been just that—school choice. In a potentially profound development, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) reimagine parent choice in ways that may upend many assumptions that have framed issues of school choice in the past. ESAs offer something wholly new, allowing parents to customize their child’s education by stitching together traditional schools and different education providers, including tutors, therapists, online and blended models.