Is a popular school choice program poised for another expansion? Following New Hampshire's lead, Connecticut is the latest New England state to entertain the notion of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
Connecticut, whose current governor and legislature have been generally hostile to any form of private delivery in school choice, recently held a public hearing on House Bill 5340. The bill proposes a study on the feasibility and potential fiscal impact of ESAs. Should the bill become law, Connecticut’s Department of Education would be tasked with presenting its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1, 2019.
School choice programs are a fiscally responsible option for lawmakers. Not a single study out of thirty identified choice programs as a net drain to taxpayers. Twenty-seven of thirty studies found education choice programs to be budget positive. Three studies deemed choice programs to be budget neutral.
While it may be premature to celebrate the expansion of school choice, it’s encouraging to see ESAs discussed in places like Connecticut. A long-time teacher’s union stronghold, private choice proposals in Connecticut have long been considered dead-on-arrival. School choice expansion has its own challenges in Pennsylvania. But momentum is building for Sen. DiSanto's ESA legislation, Senate Bill 2.
Check out this short video explaining how ESAs work:
Many Pennsylvania students lack the option to attend a quality and safe school. For others, it’s simply a matter of suitability. The one-size-fits-all approach to education clearly does not fit all. ESAs offer students a variety of options, including but not limited to private education and tutoring, online classes, music lessons, and speech or behavioral therapy.
SB 2 would offer ESAs to families in the bottom 15 percent of school districts. Click here to find out more about ESAs and see whether your student would be eligible under SB2.
The opportunity gap from district to district is a serious problem. SB 2 is the first step to empower ALL parents or guardians to customize their child’s education, regardless of where they live.