Thursday, September 27, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS — For American education to keep pace in a 21st century economy, more personalized learning opportunities are needed for all children. A new report by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice explains how that can be accomplished through a unique delivery system called education savings accounts (ESAs), which have the ability to increase student access among higher education options as well.
“The Way of the Future: Education Savings Accounts for Every American Family,” by Matthew Ladner, Ph.D., is the Friedman Foundation’s first primer on ESAs, which enable parents to withdraw their children from public schools and use state-funded savings accounts for other educating expenses. Parents can utilize ESAs to pay for tutors, online learning programs, private school tuition, and even college expenses.
“Through ESAs, parents can choose between a much wider gamut of instructional approaches,” Ladner writes in his report. The idea is to fund students directly, whose parents then can choose the type of education that best suits their needs. ESAs also encourage families to shop more economically for schooling options, as unused funds can be saved for postsecondary education.
Last year, Arizona adopted the nation’s first ESA program, which deposits 90 percent of a child’s state education funds into an account accessed through a use-restricted debit card. Parents can use it for a single purpose, such as private school tuition, or multiple purposes, such as tutoring and savings for a 529 college scholarship plan.
“If Milton Friedman were alive today, we believe he would say education savings accounts are definitely a course for the future of American education,” Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, said. “Just as consumer-driven advancements have improved our standards of living, parent-driven education savings accounts can increase the quality of our country’s educational landscape.”
The full report is available online at www.EdChoice.org/ESAs.
About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation continues to promote school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to choice and competition in K-12 education.
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