School choice is educational innovation

As states across the country create and expand educational freedom, more families are being empowered to pursue the education options best suited to their individual needs and goals.

One of the more recent and expansive ways this is being done is through Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).

While innovation in education can be found in public schools such as charter schools, magnet schools, and career academies, it doesn’t stop there. Private schools, micro schools, home education, learning pods, and unschooling represent a handful of the many learning models that, in their own ways, offer innovative approaches to education.

But accessing such options isn’t available to all students due to geographic barriers, financial barriers, etc.

That’s where school choice comes into play. Through ESAs, parents can use a portion of the dollars the neighborhood school district would have received to educate their child to help them access an alternative learning environment. An ESA can also be used to cover transportation costs, special education services and therapies, tutoring, mental health treatment, supplemental curriculum, to name a few.

This gives parents flexibility and control to access learning services that work best for their children, which ends up creating a personal approach to education. Not only does this work toward fostering each unique individual student’s natural learning abilities, it also works toward using education dollars efficiently.

Because school choice programs are designed to generate competition, they thereby inevitably force innovation — both in their learning environments but also within competing public schools.

Seventy-four of Minnesotans support school choice, including 61 percent who identify as Democrats. It’s time for the state to give all Minnesota families the opportunity to access the learning environment that is right for them.