With the election just around the corner—and school choice playing a big role in the debates—President Obama and Governor Romney have similar views when it comes to school choice (except, that is, on vouchers).
We’d like to know where the candidates stand on another form of school choice that often does not get the coverage charter schools, voucher programs, and scholarship tax credit programs do: Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
ESAs—the newest form of school choice—currently exist only in Arizona, which created the program in 2011 and significantly expanded it in 2012. Under the program, students with disabilities, children attending failing public schools, children who are in or have been in foster care, and children of military personnel are eligible to receive their education funding dollars in accounts. These dollars can be used on a variety of educational tools including, tuition to public or private schools, textbooks, educational therapies, and college courses.
On Forbes.com, James Marshall Crotty argues the free market view in support of these programs. But ESAs are not the new frontier of school choice because of free market ideals, but rather because these programs give parents real choice in personalizing their children’s education.
Arizona State Senator, Rick Murphy, who sponsored the 2012 legislation that expanded Arizona’s program said, “ESAs…give parents the flexibility to fill in their children’s learning gaps with specialized services, like tutoring or online courses. There’s not any other tool that allows parents to do that.”
- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG