Students funded over systems as 30 states introduce school choice legislation

At least 50 school choice bills have been introduced in 30 states so far this year, reports The Center Square, confirming the largest expansion of school choice in U.S. history.

Legislation has ranged from creating or expanding education savings accounts, tax-credit scholarships, and vouchers, among other measures that fund students over systems.

To date, 10 states have proposed five new programs and 10 states have expanded existing programs… They include the legislatures of Indiana and Nevada creating Educational Savings Accounts for the first time in their states, as well as Kentucky and Missouri creating tax-credit-funded Education Savings Accounts for the first time in their states.

Kentucky’s bill was the first school choice bill ever proposed in its legislature. And the majority of legislators passed the bill twice – first to make it to the governor’s desk, and second, to override the governor’s veto, creating the state’s first school choice program.

Arkansas’ legislature also created its state’s first tax scholarship program. In April, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the bill designed to help low-income families.

Arkansas is now the 20th state in the nation to adopt a tax-credit scholarship program.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice also signed into law “the most expansive school choice program in the country, a nearly universal option for education savings accounts,” the Heritage Foundation also reports in its analysis of states’ legislation.

Several states expanded their existing voucher programs this year, including Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Maryland. Likewise, several states expanded their tax credit scholarship programs, including Florida, Indiana, Montana and South Dakota.

In Minnesota, the Senate’s education omnibus bill includes an Education Savings Account (ESA) provision that gives families more control and flexibility over their children’s education and finally brings real school choice to Minnesota. Legislators are currently negotiating a final version of the bill and need to hear from you that now is the time to prioritize students over systems.

A recent study from the University of Arkansas suggests that “the more a state provides parents with the freedom to choose their child’s school, the better the state’s students score” on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, writes co-author Patrick Wolf.