State Growth in School Choice

May 5, 2014

As of the 2012-2013 school year, more than 2.3 million American students were enrolled in public charter schools, according to a report from Katie Furtick, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.

States continued to expand their school choice options last year, with 13 states creating or expanding their tuition tax credit programs, private school scholarships or school choice vouchers.

  • Forty-eight school choice programs are now available to children and their families in the United States. This includes 22 voucher programs, 16 tax credit scholarship programs, one education savings account program and eight individual tax credit programs.
  • 260,000 students used vouchers and tax credit scholarships in 2013.
  • Enrollment in public charter schools increased by more than 250,000 between 2012 and 2013, totaling 5 percent of public school enrollment nationwide.

Several states made progress that will allow schoolchildren to attend the schools of their choice:

  • Mississippi made major reforms to its charter school law. Prior to the reform, only the State Board of Education was allowed to authorize charter schools, and the schools could only be authorized if a public school was "chronically underperforming" for three years. The Mississippi reform created a Charter School Authorizer Board with the authority to approve up to 15 new charters each year.
  • Alabama created a tax credit system for families with children in chronically failing schools. The families receive an income tax credit worth 80 percent of the average annual public education cost in the state. Taxpayers who donate to non-profit scholarship organizations also receive tax credits worth 50 percent of their donation.
  • North Carolina made more students with disabilities eligible for its tax credit program, and it created a new voucher program that will give eligible children $4,200 per year to attend a private school.

Arizona remains the only state to have adopted an education savings account program. Today, there are 302 students using these accounts.

Source: Katie Furtick, "School Choice, Funding Portability, and Trends In Educational Privatization," Reason Foundation, April 30, 2014.

 

Browse more articles on Education Issues