Flexibility Is Key: The Next Generation of Parental Choice Solutions

CascadeNewLogoBy Kathryn Hickok

Families in five states now have access to a special program called Educational Savings Accounts.

Educational Savings Accounts, or ESAs, allow parents to take money the state otherwise would spend on their children in the public system and put it on a restricted use debit card. Parents can spend this money on a wide variety of approved educational options, including private school, individual tutoring, online classes, and other services. Any money not used is rolled over for parents to spend in the future.

The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice surveyed Arizona families to see how they are choosing to spend the resources allocated for their kids. The survey found that more than a third of participating families used ESAs for multiple educational purposes, not just private school tuition. It also found that families saved a significant amount of their ESA money for future expenses.

This indicates that ESAs not only expand the learning options available to individual children, but they also encourage fiscal discipline within education spending.

Parents and lawmakers in nearly a dozen states, including Oregon, are working to make this flexible learning option available to more children. The next generation of education reform in America needs to embrace flexibility to meet the needs of every child, and Educational Savings Accounts are proving to be a simple but powerful way to do just that.

Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland program at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Education | Tagged , | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • thevillageidiot

    It is a good start. Watch the teachers union spend massive amounts trying to prevent it from happening. This too could help destroy the current education model. sort of like a disruptive technology.

  • Bob Clark

    Opening up alternatives to the bricks and mortar public education system is, over all, a healthy development. Technology allows for the opportunity to tailor make each child’s education instead of restricting it to the one size fits all bland offerings of public education bricks and mortar.

    Some weeding out of bad educational entities is to be expected in the early years of a launch of new alternatives to the state run public education monopoly. But brands and quality will follow.

    • Connie Kosuda

      brands??? quality???? if only .

      I pity the children whose educational lives are to be ruled by their parents / many of whom are ignorant and prejudiced.

      children need a well-rounded education /not whatever mom and dad pick and choose from the smorgasbord.

      by the way, by law, ALL children are entitled to a free and equal education / and our tax dollars pay for this /

      it is NOT a revolving fund for parents to sit on for their future desires/

      it is the pool of tax dollars already collected, to be apportioned equally for the well-rounded education of all children.

      • Plato WR-101 Republic

        Sharia and begorra, you may be ripe on to something connie-hensable.

  • Granola girl

    As a parent I certainly hope this becomes a reality. I would have liked to have my kids in private school, but could not afford it.

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