School Choice Programs Growing Fast; Kansas Looks Like Next State to Join

If 2011 was christened the Year of School Choice, what should we call 2013? At the time that year dawned, I worried that it wouldn’t exactly be smooth sailing.

But given the recent news headlined by the release of the Alliance for School Choice’s annual yearbook, it must be that even my young, healthy eyes couldn’t see the great trend developing:

This year’s Yearbook reports that nationally 308,650 students are currently enrolled in publicly funded private school programs. This represents the largest single year growth of enrollment in the history of school choice….

Well, how do you like that? The number of students participating in private educational choice programs is still low nationally, given the numbers of school-aged children. But you never ought to shake a stick at record-breaking success. As Mary Tillotson reports for, the one-year growth was 25 percent. Let’s keep that trend going!

On the Alliance Yearbook page, you can find profiles on the 18 states and the two “DC”s with qualifying choice programs already in place. What are the two “DC”s, you ask? Why, Washington, D.C., and Colorado’s own Douglas County. Of course, the cutting-edge Choice Scholarship Program is on hold right now, while we wait for the big day at the Colorado Supreme Court.

That number of 18 states with private school choice should continue to rise. From my perch here along the Front Range, I just have to glance over to the east and see that Kansas of all places is on the verge of enacting a scholarship tax credit program to help low-income and special-needs students. As I understand it, House Bill 2506 just needs a governor’s signature, then… make that 19 states. Who will be number 20?

Apparently not New York, which fell just short of making the list when their state leaders failed to pass the Education Investment Tax Credit at the 11th hour. Guess it’s time for the Centennial State to step up and help Colorado Kids Win!