School Choice Finds Its Groove in 2023

Jillian Schneider | April 13, 2023

(The Lion) — As many states are nearing the end of their legislative session, lawmakers from six states can rest easy after advancing school choice by leaps and bounds over the past three months. 

Four states – Arkansas, Florida, Iowa and Utah – passed universal education savings account (ESA) programs, ensuring educational freedom to 4.5 million students. 

Additionally, Idaho and West Virginia created statewide open enrollment policies, making public schools available to all students regardless of their zip code. West Virginia also has a rigorous ESA program.

“A good education is the closest thing to magic in America,” said Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, one of school choice’s most fervent advocates. “It creates viable options for all families regardless of socioeconomic status.

“By equipping and empowering families with the ability to choose educational opportunities best suited for their children – public charter schools, parochial schools, homeschooling and more – we are prioritizing the success of students and our nation,” Scott concluded.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is still working hard to get similar policies through his state’s legislature.

After the governor spent weeks touring schools to promote parents’ rights and school choice, the Texas Senate finally passed ESA legislation, but the bill is expected to meet stiff opposition in the House.

Texas is one of nearly 20 states with no education freedom programs, according to EdChoice.

Other states with pending school choice legislation include North and South CarolinaOklahoma and Montana.