School Choice Across the Nation

How many ways can governments provide school choice to parents? More than you think. The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy has released my report on the subject, called School Innovations Across the Nation. You can get it (PDF) here.

The report discusses four areas of school choice:

  1. Charter schools
  2. Tax credits and tax deducations
  3. Vouchers
  4. Virtual schools

You’ll find an explanation of why some parents like charter schools, and a small sampling of the varieties of charter schools. But for the most part the report doesn’t seek to argue for these innovations or talk about evidence for why they can be useful. While those are worthy topics, to be sure, the report has a more basic purpose, that of describing how states have set up these innovations.

For example, in Kansas, if you want to start a charter school, you have to get the approval of the local school board. In effect, a charter school is nothing more (or nothing less) than an alternative school operated by the district.

But did you know that in some states–including those with a good record on education, such as Minnesota–allow people to petition a university, private foundation, or alternative state board of education if they want to start a charter school? There are many benefits to such arrangements.

In addition, some states let corporations and/or personal income tax filers get a tax credit for education. Give money to a scholarship-granting organization, and get a credit. The organization, in turn, gives a scholarship to a child wanting another option. What a great way to contribute to the education of a needy child!

That’s a short introduction. Read the report and you’ll find out more about the ways that Kansas can open the horizons of children.

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