Utah is a leader in providing school choice options to parents.
Public School Choice:
Utah offers choice within the pubic education system, including intra-district and inter-district open enrollment.
Private School Choice:
Since 2005, Utah has provided private school choice to special-needs students through the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program. In 20013, nearly 715 students received scholarships to attend a private school of choice.
The Center for Education Reform reports that Utah has a relatively strong charter school law. Charter schools get excellent funding and facilities, and there are many independent authorizers throughout the state, including several universities. As of 2013, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, over 50,000 students were enrolled in the state’s 88 public charter schools.
As of 2011, Utah students in grades 9–12 are now able to use part of their state education funding to enroll in online courses. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning reports that Utah has a state-led program known as the Utah Electronic High School (EHS), as well as four online charter schools that operate statewide (the Utah Virtual Academy, the Open High School of Utah, Connections Academy, and Alianza Academy) and several district online programs. During the 2011–2012 school year, EHS served over 11,000 students. Additionally, the Utah Virtual Academy served 2,000 students, the Open High School of Utah served 328, the Utah Connections Academy served 279, and the Alianza Academy served 468.
In 2011, Utah passed legislation to allow high school students to use a portion of public education funding to take online courses.