EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS GIVE PARENTS THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE THE BEST EDUCATION OPTIONS FOR THEIR CHILDREN
Now is the time for Missouri to enact an ESA program
- Five states currently offer state-funded ESA programs, and over one-third of states offer a tax credit scholarship program.
- More states are now looking to expand school choice even further given the difficult situation the COVID-19 pandemic has created for students. In our region, the governors of both Iowa and Nebraska recently called upon state legislators to send meaningful school choice reform legislation to their desks.
- An ESA-style program gives parents even greater flexibility than traditional school choice programs, as the funds can be used not only for private school tuition, but also for education therapy, tutoring, exam fees, and even certain public school services.
- Students with special needs or those who have faced challenges at a traditional public school can especially benefit from ESAs as they allow students to tailor their education services to fit their individual learning needs.
- In June 2020, the United States Supreme Court decided in favor of school choice in the case of Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The Court held that the state’s prohibition on using tax credit scholarship funds at a religious school is unconstitutional. This decision set a precedent for most states, including Missouri, prohibiting them from using a Blaine amendment to prevent students from attending a religious school through a school choice program.
- Despite opponents’ arguments, school choice programs do not take money away from students enrolled in public schools. Public schools will still receive funding for the children they educate. There is savings for the state for every student that chooses to enroll in a non-public school.
Missourians Want More Education Options
An ongoing public opinion poll from EdChoice shows:
- When given a description, 62% of Missourians support ESAs.
- Only 35% of Missourians think that schools in the state are on the right track.
- If given the option, over 50% of school parents would choose private school or home school in order to obtain the best education for their child.
For more information, watch our expert panel discuss different school choice options, how school choice programs are held accountable, and what school choice would look like in Missouri.