NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Center For Education Reform: School Reform Update

September 1, 1997

Virtually every state in the nation now allows some form of school choice, but the degree to which parents can choose a school for their child varies greatly.

  • Eighteen states currently offer statewide public school choice and another 11 offer public school choice within districts or in selected areas.
  • School choice programs that encompass choices among both public and private schools -- either through public funding or private scholarship programs -- are in effect in school districts in at least 22 states.

In addition, more than 100,000 students in at least 12 states are now educated in private schools under contract with a school, district or state. For example:

  • Sylvan Learning Centers, Inc., a private company that has demonstrated success in providing remedial education to disadvantaged students, provides remedial instruction for students under contract from districts in several states.
  • The Edison Project operates schools under contract with districts in a number of states.

Another reform concept, charter schools -- schools founded or operated by parents, teachers and other qualified people and free from day-to-day bureaucratic oversight from state and district officials -- has been gaining adherents across the nation.

  • Twelve states and the District of Columbia have passed strong charter school legislation.
  • Another 13 states have charter school laws that do not provide for the maximum degree of autonomy and innovation that is essential to the charter concept.

Source: "School Reform in the United States: State by State Summary, Summer 1997," Center for Education Reform, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 204, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 822-9000.


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