School Choice Programs Save States Money

Parents are increasingly supporting alternatives to traditional public schools, more than 18 months after a school district was hit by a school-disruption pandemic. But school choice doesn’t just offer more options to families—a new study suggests that it has benefits for states too.

The study was released by EdChoice (a non-profit that promotes school choice), this month. There was an average net saving of $12 billion-$28 billion between 2011 and 2018 for 40 tax-credit and tuition-grant programs across the country. Cost difference plays a large role in saving money. In certain cases, it is almost three times as expensive to attend traditional public schools than for private schooling.

This is because parents are unhappy with their kids’ schools and this news comes at a time when elected Democrats face serious problems. Glenn Youngkin (a Republican newcomer) defeated Terry McAuliffe in Virginia earlier this month. McAuliffe is heavily favored to retake the governorship. McAuliffe was clearly hostile to parental involvement in school curriculum. There were many factors, but McAuliffe is the one most likely to be at fault. Youngkin was given a useful soundbite by McAuliffe, who stated that “I don’t believe parents should tell schools what to teach.” Many voters were dissatisfied with this sentiment after nearly a year of parents being forced to act as substitute teachers.

However, we are not sure how far it will take us. Governor. Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, vetoed two bills which would have offered scholarships to low-income students and those at risk for additional educational assistance. Two bills that would have created an Education Savings Account would have allowed parents to receive funds from scholarships made possible by tax-deductible donations. Parents could use the money however they like in order to aid their child’s progress. Whitmer had already vetoed a bill to aid low-performing students. He said it was too similar in concept to a voucher program. In the same way, Whitmer dismissed newer bills from Michigan as an attempt to privatize education.

Arizona is home to the nation’s oldest ESA Program. According to the EdChoice study, it has saved the taxpayers $1 billion-3.2 billion in the past eight years. It’s also popular among parents who take part.

Voters opted to reward McAuliffe by giving him another term. Democrats like Whitmer should heed the voters’ choice—both for their constituents’ sake, and for their own.