NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 20, 2006

American taxpayers spend more than $440 billion annually on K-12 public education in the United States.  Federal and state policymakers should give parents greater freedom to control the dollars and decision-making in their children's education, say Dan Lips, an education analyst, and Evan Feinberg, a research assistant at the Heritage Foundation.

To this end, Congress should:

  • Implement reforms to strengthen the existing parental choice components of No Child Left Behind, including enacting the America's Opportunity Scholarship for Kids initiative, a pilot program to provide opportunity scholar­ships to children in persistently failing public schools.
  • Reauthorize and expand the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program to give more children in the nation's capital the freedom to attend schools of their parents' choice.
  • Expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to give families greater ability to save for and direct their children's K-12 education.
  • Implement reforms to transfer dollars and power back to state and local policymakers so that local policymakers can enact reforms that best suit local community needs, such as expanding parental choice.

For their part, state policymakers should:

  • Enact student-centered education reforms to provide all students with greater freedom to attend schools of their parents' choice, including scholarship programs and tax incentives to promote parental choice.
  • Expand parental choice within the public school system through such means as allowing for the creation of more public charter schools.

Millions of children in the United States could benefit from the opportunity to attend schools of their parents' choice.  State and federal policymakers should implement student-centered reforms to give all parents the ability to direct their children's education, say Lips and Feinberg.

Source: Dan Lips and Evan Feinberg, "School Choice: 2006 Progress Report," Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder #1970, September 18, 2006.


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