Momentum Growing to Expand Private School Choice in Many States in 2011

Friday seems like a good time to take a step back and look around the country at a slate of school choice legislation. Writing on the Flypaper blog, Jamie Davies O’Leary highlights a number of proposals in Ohio that are being given serious consideration, including:

  • Expanding the Cleveland voucher program statewide, removing all enrollment caps and the “failing school” requirement
  • Establishing a scholarship program available to all special-needs students, not just those with autism
  • Creating education “savings accounts” that would empower parents to save additional scholarship funds for future educational use

Meanwhile, Amy Graham at redefinED has provided updates on bills advancing in Indiana and Pennsylvania — states that already have school choice programs but are taking some serious looks at expanding opportunities. She also takes note of Arizona, which among other school choice enhancements is looking to develop “Empowerment Accounts” for special-needs students. Georgia has several bills to strengthen its special-needs scholarship program, while Oklahoma is considering a Parental Choice in Education Act.

Maybe I’m a bit partial, but it seems like Colorado’s HB 1048 tuition tax credit legislation should be added to the list, too. While it faces a steep and uphill battle this year, the idea has begun to gain some traction here. Regardless of whether one counts Colorado, 2011 definitely has brought progress nationwide to expand the boundaries of school choice.