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InsiderOnline Blog: August 2013

Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts Are a Step Beyond School Choice

The program allows parents of certain students to withdraw those students from their public or charter schools and receive an account containing 90 percent of the education funding the state would have spent on that student. The parents then can use the money in the account for a variety of educational purposes. Examining the data from the Arizona, Lindsey Burke finds that, indeed, parents are using the funding not merely to pick a school, but to customize their children’s educations:

Of the 316 families participating from 2011 forward, 109 (34 percent) chose to use their ESA funds for multiple education options. That included attending a private school of choice while supplementing that education with additional curricula, tutoring, or therapies, or combining educational services and providers that included no private school tuition.

• 109 families (34 percent) used their funds for multiple educational options.
• Seven families used their Empowerment Scholarship Account funds to finance online learning options.
• 47 families used their ESAs for private tutoring.
• 39 families chose to use a portion of their funds to finance curriculum.
• 62 families accessed education therapy and services via ESA funds.
• Unspent funds suggest families are saving and “rolling over” a significant portion of the ESA funds, likely in anticipation of future education related expenses. [“The Education Debit Card: What Arizona Parents Purchase with Arizona’s Education Savings Accounts,” by Lindsey M. Burke, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, August 2013]

Unbundling! [See also: “Giving Parents Choices: How Education Savings Accounts Can Give Every Child a Better Education,” by Jonathan Butcher, The Insider, Summer 2013]

Posted on 08/30/13 10:24 AM by Alex Adrianson

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