The COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique moment for parental choice in education and Heritage Foundation experts have been working tirelessly to offer clarity and solutions for students, parents, educators, and lawmakers.
Recently, Heritage expert Lindsey Burke was featured in a new book, “School Choice Myths: Setting the Record Straight on Education Freedom,” which debunks the various myths surrounding school choice. In the midst of the pandemic, school choice has been given renewed interest as parents realized the shortcomings of their public school systems.
Burke serves as director for the Center for Education Policy and Will Skillman fellow in education at The Heritage Foundation and has been a strong proponent of school choice. In the new book, she co-authored a chapter focusing on the myth that school choice programs need to be regulated to operate well.
“Education has been completely upended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Burke says. “But the policies long promoted and advanced by Heritage—namely education choice policies that put dollars directly in the hands of families to pay for learning options that are the right fit for their children—are perfectly suited to meet the moment we're in.”
Burke’s recommendations were also included in the final recommendations from Heritage’s National Coronavirus Recovery Commission.
“The Commission recommends that Congress provide spending flexibility for education,” the report states, “Congress should allow states to use all of their existing federal education dollars for any lawful purpose under state law.”
Pandemic pods have gained popularity in recent months, a method of education that Heritage has heavily encouraged. Pods are small groups of children that are taught together outside of the school system as a replacement for the virtual learning arrangements many public schools have made.
“For decades we have worked to advance school choice, and in recent years, put a particular emphasis on education savings accounts (ESAs),” Burke explains. “The flexible nature of these accounts allow parents to use the funds that would have been spent on their child in the public school system to instead pay for private tutors, textbooks, and other services.
“As families turn to innovative schooling alternatives like pandemic pods and microschools, ESAs can help them pay for options that provide educational continuity for their children,” she adds. “It’s good policy in response to the pandemic, and good policy long-term.
Burke works alongside a dedicated team of scholars in Heritage’s Center for Education Policy. They are committed to finding innovative solutions that work for families and educators.
They’re also looking for new ways to reach people with Heritage’s policy work.
This fall, Heritage created a new podcast designed to give listeners easily digestible information on the most pressing education issues in the coronavirus era. The show, “COVID and the Classroom,” is hosted by Heritage policy analyst Mary Clare Amselem. It airs weekly and has already covered multiple topics including school choice, and pandemic pods.