By Kathryn Hickok
Six years ago, Arizona became the first state to pass an Education Savings Account law for some K-12 students. Earlier this month, Arizona lawmakers passed a new ESA bill which expands the program eligibility to include all Arizona children, phased in over the next few years.
The Heritage Foundation’s education policy fellow Lindsay Burke explains:
Education savings accounts represent a breakthrough in public education financing. Instead of sending funding directly to district schools, and then assigning children to those schools based on where their parents live, parents receive 90 percent of what the state would have spent on their child in their district school, with funds being deposited directly into a parent-controlled account.
Parents can spend the money on the educational services that best meet their children’s individual needs, such as private or home schools, tutors, online courses, and therapy. Funds not used by the student in a given year can be rolled over for future years.
Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee also have ESA programs limited to particular groups of students, such as those with special needs. Nevada passed a near-universal ESA bill in 2015, but it is yet to be funded.
“When parents have more choices, kids win,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. It’s time for Oregon parents to have those choices, too. For more information about Oregon’s Education Savings Account bill, under consideration this legislative session, visit schoolchoicefororegon.com.
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Director of the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon program at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.