Early in June, the state of Nevada became a pioneer in educational choice by granting Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) to every child in the state.
For those unfamiliar with ESAs, they are a form of school choice which places education dollars in the hands of parents, allowing them to craft a unique academic program tailored to the needs and abilities of their child. An ESA offers many benefits, including:
- Savings: Many ESA programs, such as the one in Arizona, allow parents to take around 90% of the funds their state would spend educating their child. Since only 90% of the state spending per student is given to an ESA recipient, the state often saves 10% per child.
- Parental Control: As implied above, an ESA places the responsibility for a child’s education on the shoulders of the parent, not the state. Thus, if a parent recognizes that their child is not learning well under a certain curriculum or educational program, they can more easily move that child into a situation which better meets his or her needs.
- Money for College: One of the most delightful aspects of an ESA is the fact that it doesn’t operate on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. Every year, unused money can be rolled over into a college savings account for the student.
Nevada’s ESA program has been back in the news again recently as several parties have pursued lawsuits against the program, alleging that it “diverts money from public to private schools.”
Since the founding of our nation, Americans have recognized that our system of government will only survive as long as the citizenry is well-informed and educated. But with only 26% of high school seniors performing proficiently in math and only 38% performing proficiently in reading, it’s easy to see that public schools are having difficulty producing that well-educated society.
If parents are the primary educators of their children, why not trust them to choose the form of education which will set their child on the path to success?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.