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Education Savings Accounts Archives – Concerned Women for America

You Gotta Love Educational Savings Accounts

By | Education, LBB, News and Events | No Comments

ESAs, as they are known, empower parents to make the best choice for their children’s education. It gives parents some of the public funds that the state often misuses in each child’s public education, allowing parents to use it for educational purposes in the best way they see fit. For example, parents can use it to cover private school tuition or online learning programs. Funds can be used for private tutoring, homeschooling, or other educational materials. The possibilities are endless. The choice is in the hands of the persons most interested in the child’s success: the parents. This is good. Parents need school choice.

 

Contrary to what you will hear from some detractors, ESAs do not destroy public schools. Parents who feel their public school is working need not change. They need not apply to receive the money and can continue as they have before. But the reality for millions of American children is that their public school system is failing them, and they are stuck in that failing school or system because of how the law has been set up.

 

Recent national exam results revealed “the steepest declines ever recorded on National Assessment of Educational Progress” in math proficiency. Just 26% of eighth graders were proficient! Fourth graders did not fare much better, just 36% were deemed proficient. Reading scores also declined. Only about one in three students met the proficiency standards.

 

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona called these results “appalling and unacceptable.” But Secretary Cardona and the overwhelming majority of the Democrats’ leadership oppose school choice. Their solution is to pump more money into failing schools while ignoring their pathetic record.

 

I hope the pandemic has opened the eyes of many Americans to the toxic environment that drives educational policy nationwide. Virtually every educational bureaucracy, pressured by influential teachers’ unions, forced the unscientific and irrational policy of prolonged school closures, not to mention the cruel and unnecessary forced masking policies on young children.

 

It was simply amazing to read in the pages of The New York Times just this week (almost four years after the start of the pandemic!), “The Mask Mandates Did Nothing. Will Any Lessons Be Learned?” The article highlighted the “most rigorous and comprehensive analysis of scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of masks for reducing the spread of respiratory illness—including Covid-19.” The lead author of the study, Oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson, was quoted saying there is no evidence that masks make any difference, “Full stop.”

 

Yes, after all they put us through— after all they put our children through. They knew it was all for nothing. It was a show. This is infuriating, especially when it comes to children, because although the masks did nothing to “stop the spread” (not in two weeks, two months, or more than two years), they did do something in terms of harming our children’s educational, linguistic, social, and emotional development. Our children have paid the price of their incompetence.

 

That is a big reason you are hearing and will continue to hear more about ESAs being passed in different states. We should support them in every state.

 

As of now, I believe there is a version of them (in varying degrees) in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia. Let us pray for many more in the coming years.

Nance: Give parents the power of the purse – educational savings accounts.

By | Education, News and Events, Special Feature | No Comments

Concerned Women for America (CWA) believes every child deserves educational freedom and that a zip code should not determine a student’s success. In her just published op-ed for Newsweek, Penny Nance, CWA’s CEO and President, discusses the important option of Educational Saving Accounts.

 

Penny had this to say in the article, “Give parents the power of the purse. Education Savings Accounts allow parents to use their tax dollars to pay for education that best supports their children. Nine states have already adopted ESA policies, including five in the last two years, and more will consider it this year. Let’s make it happen.”

States Rejoice for School Choice

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Every child deserves educational freedom. At Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), we saw landmark developments in the states for the school choice movement during National School Choice Week.

 

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) listened to the voices of parents in Iowa and signed key education policy into law. Under Iowa’s Students First Act, state education funding—an estimated $7,598 per student—can go to K-12 students who choose to attend private schools and pay for their schooling and other qualified education expenses.

 

Gov. Spencer Cox (R-Utah) signed into law the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program. Eligible students can apply for and receive an $8,000 per-year scholarship for qualified education expenses, with preference for lower-income families and a program cap of $42 million per year.

 

In Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ (Republican) signed an executive order—her first in office—that directs the Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas State Board of Education to create “policies that streamline processes to continue, expand, and replicate effective charter schools.”

 

No student should be forced to attend failing schools or schools that denigrate their beliefs and values. Unfortunately, parents have seen far too much of this, and the problem accelerated during the pandemic. These actions by Govs. Reynolds, Cox, and Sanders empower parents to choose the best education for their children and advance education freedom. A key component of education freedom is educational choice—at CWALAC, we focus on choice in the forms of education savings accounts and open enrollment. CWA has already identified target states to advance the mission for educational choice: Florida, Louisiana, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. In each of these states, more can be done.

 

Iowa’s Students First Act, as mentioned, above, creates an education savings account (ESA). ESAs vary from state to state, but generally speaking, ESAs are publicly funded, are administered by the state government, and use state funding already allocated for the student. ESAs are used to provide an education in reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. ESAs allow a parent to purchase vetted educational services to tailor a learning experience that meets a student’s needs.

 

Every student must have access to an ESA, like in Iowa and the nine other states that have adopted ESAs that are publicly funded: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. An ESA helps fulfill the proper goal of education to impart knowledge to students and teach them how to think, not what to think.

 

Open enrollment refers to the policy of allowing students to request to transfer to another school either within a school district (intradistrict open enrollment) or outside of the school district (interdistrict open enrollment) in which the student resides. Over half of the states have policies permitting intradistrict or interdistrict open enrollment. Fourteen states require interdistrict open enrollment for all grade levels.

 

Of those 14 states, five states—Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, South Dakota, and Tennessee—have the strongest policy because they require schools to accept transfer requests, subject to capacity of the receiving school. Gov. Sanders’ executive order builds on Arkansas’ strong foundation in what is sometimes called “public school choice.”

 

Every student must have access to transfer-request acceptance as in Arkansas and the other four states. Without it, there is a risk of open-endedness in transfer policies that give schools the latitude to create policies that prioritize the preservation of an institution rather than an individual student’s quality of education.

 

The remaining nine states require schools to have policies for transfer requests but do not require acceptance of transfer requests: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wisconsin. Open enrollment that is interdistrict, available for all grade levels, and available for any reason (subject to capacity) gives even more options to the parents and the student to achieve maximum educational outcomes.

 

A zip code should not determine a student’s success. The pandemic, despite its many tragedies, has resulted in an opportune climate for change in education policy. For this year’s National School Choice Week, more parents are experiencing more meaningful choice in their student’s education.