Education savings accounts -- currently available only in Arizona -- are a particularly innovative approach to school choice, allowing families of special needs children to use a portion of the dollars that would have been spent on their children in their assigned public schools for a variety of other education options, including private-school tuition, online education, and special-education services.
The benefits are undeniable. For one thing, students in school-choice programs are more likely to finish school. For example, students who spend all four years of high school in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the nation’s longest running school-choice program, had a 94 percent graduation rate. Their peers who attended four years of public high school had a 75 percent graduation rate.
School-choice students also tend to do better academically. A comprehensive study by the Foundation for Educational Choice notes that nine out of 10 empirical studies using random assignment to assess vouchers found that they improve student outcomes. (The 10th one found no impact.)
With school choice on the march, we have good reason to believe that the status quo in education won’t remain the status quo much longer. The trend is flowing away from government control -- and toward parental control.
In nearly every area of life, from iPads to insurance, Americans can decide what works best for them. Why shouldn’t the same principle apply to something as important as our children’s education?
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