ESAs: Step by Step

Pennsylvania taxpayers are very generous in their support for education. We rank ninth in the nation for per-pupil funding at almost $18,000 per pupil —$3,900 more than the national average. However, while we think of spending in terms of per pupil, the funds do not actually follow students. Many districts think the purpose of education funding is to support the district, rather than educate individual children. Any proposal to allow money to follow the child is said to “cost” the district.

In reality, education costs taxpayers—not districts. School districts are the conduit through which the money flows, but they are not the source of the money.

It’s time to put the focus of education spending where it belongs: on students, not systems. Enter education scholarship accounts (ESAs), which are poised to revolutionize education throughout Pennsylvania and around the country. Unlike other school choice solutions, ESAs can be used for a variety of educational expenses. By unbundling education from school, ESAs empower parents to choose the path that best suits their children. The result will be more flexibility and customization for parents, students, and teachers.

This infographic shows how ESAs would work in Pennsylvania: