A Survey of Parental Rights and Responsibilities in School Choice Laws

Between 1990 and 2015, lawmakers in 45 states and the District of Columbia enacted a range of public and private school choice laws to meet parents’ demand for greater options. These laws number 102 and include 43 charter school laws, 25 voucher laws, 20 tax-credit laws, 9 tax-deduction laws, and 5 Education Savings Account (ESA) laws. Robinson finds that existing choice laws demonstrate that parental rights and responsibilities in education statues are relatively minuscule. Robinson claims that, in the haste to get more school choice laws on the books, state lawmakers and advocates have not been conscious about how programs foster parental rights and responsibilities. If states want school choice to truly work, Robinson contends, they most turn a critical eye to how laws treat parents, how they invite them into the lifelong process of a child’s schooling, and how they call equal attention to both rights and responsibilities.

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