GENTLES: Virginia Families Need Education Freedom – Now More Than Ever

Ginny Gentles | January 22, 2023

Virginia quietly lowered proficiency standards on state assessments in 2019 and 2020, deceiving public school parents in the commonwealth into thinking their children were learning math and reading. The state’s abysmal and embarrassing 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores revealed the truth.

Unfortunately, Virginia also lags far behind other states in education freedom, so students are trapped in schools that are failing them. The good news is that help in the form of education savings accounts is on the way.

Virginia’s students must be allowed to escape the residentially assigned public schools that are not educating them. Fortunately, Del. Glenn Davis recently introduced legislation that will provide K-12 Education Success Accounts (HB 1508) to eligible Virginia families. This proposal creates education savings accounts (ESAs) for families by setting aside roughly one-third of the per-pupil funding allocated for each student. Parents will be able to direct the ESA funds for allowable education expenses, including tuition, educational therapies, tutoring, transportation and curriculum.

The education savings account proposal would provide approximately $4,500 each year for each child. Public school and rising kindergarten students who are not already enrolled in a private school or homeschool would be eligible to leave the public school system and access ESAs.