April 26, 2005

April 26, 2005 | News Releases on Education

School-Choice Movement Continues to Grow, Report Says

WASHINGTON, APRIL 26, 2005-More states offer real choices to parents in how their children are educated, more parents take advantage of these choices and more legislatures are looking at ways to expand school choice than ever before, according to a new study from The Heritage Foundation.

As of this month, students in Florida, Maine, Ohio, Vermont, Utah, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia can receive government-funded scholarships to attend a private school. Students in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania can take advantage of tax credits or deductions for education expenses or contributions to scholarship programs.

Just 14 years ago, no states permitted charter schools-publicly funded institutions that operate free of the red tape of normal schools. Today, 40 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws allowing such schools. Also, 15 states guarantee public-school choice within or between districts, and home schooling is legal in every state.

Moreover, state legislatures took a record number of votes on school-choice programs this year, and many of those passed at least a committee vote, including a measure in Utah that made it the second state to offer a voucher program for students with disabilities. Proposals that would expand school choice are under consideration in several other states.

More parents than ever are taking advantage of these new choices.

Today, more than 1 million families nationwide home school their children, more than 624,000 families use vouchers, tax credits or tax deductions to attend the school of their choice, and record numbers of students take advantage of options to transfer from their assigned public school to other public schools that better suit their needs.

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