Interesting report from conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, which is calling 2011 “the year of school choice.” Most states are offering school choice options, but Mississippi is not on the list.
As of August 2011, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have policies that support private school choice:
- Nine states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—offer education tax credits to encourage businesses and individuals to make donations to organizations that provide tuition scholarships to students to attend private school.
- Nine states and the District of Columbia have voucher programs: Colorado (Douglas County), Florida (special needs), Georgia (special needs), Indiana, Louisiana (New Orleans and special needs), Ohio (Cleveland, Ed Choice, special needs, and Autism scholarships), Oklahoma (special needs), Utah (special needs), Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Racine County), and Washington, D.C.
- Five states—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, and Minnesota—offer tax deductions to reduce their state income-tax liabilities by taking deductions on education-related expenses, including private-school tuition.
A majority of states offer some form of public school choice:
- Forty-six states have policies that permit public-school choice.
- Forty states and the District of Columbia have charter school laws that allow the creation of charter schools—public schools that are free from many of the regulations imposed on traditional public schools, but are held accountable to the same achievement measures as their traditional counterparts. This allows charter schools to be more flexible and innovative than traditional public schools.
See Aug. 5, 2011 MBJ story, “Miss. school choice.”
“Open Enrollment: 50 State Report,” Education Commission of the States, 2011, at http://mb2.ecs.org/reports/Report.aspx?id=268(July 26, 2011). Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia have not enacted open enrollment policies.