November 29, 2016

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School Choice in the States

 Following the election of Donald Trump and the nomination of Betsy DeVos, there has been a lot of talk about school choice provisions at the federal level. It is important to keep in mind that most school choice provisions are at the state level. Outside of charter schools, magnet schools and open enrollment, states have legislation that falls into four categories: vouchers, education savings accounts, individual tax credits or deductions and tax credit scholarships. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have some sort of this legislation on the books, as shown in the map below. Of these, 16 states have vouchers, 16 have tax credit scholarships, 8 have individual tax credits or deductions, and 5 have education savings accounts.

 choice map

The voucher legislation tends to be the longest, with bills dating back to 1869. Tax credits and scholarships have been growing since the 2000's. A newer option, education savings accounts have been growing since Arizona first passed its program in 2011. Nevada has the widest reaching program, with its education savings account open to all students in the state.

choice chart

Following the election, several states saw a Republican sweep and see the possibility of further legislation being enacted. We will continue to track any legislation at the federal level, and your state association will be doing the same at the state level.