Ep. 326: Monthly State Update – June 2022

June 14, 2022

The EdChoice state team updates us on whats going on in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana.

Jordan: Hello everyone. This is your EdChoice state team update, where we cover all the action around the states in the legislatures for school choice legislation. We’re winding down throughout the state’s legislative sessions, but we still do have a couple of updates we got to share with you as we head into the summer. First, I want to go ahead and discuss Iowa. Unfortunately, the ESA proposal in Iowa did not get a hearing in the House appropriations committee and on the House floor. This education savings account proposal would’ve seen accounts funded up for 10,000 students. While disappointing, there’s still things to be positive about guys. Would we look at this bill passing the Senate chamber? That means that it’s two years in a row that we’ve seen an ESA proposal pass the full Senate floor. On top of that parents, families, they were so energized this year, more than ever letting legislators know how they feel. And there’s positivity to be taken from this. We’re making progress. While things did not go as expected in the House, we’ve been gaining support from legislators there. They care about this issue and it’s important that we continue to educate stakeholders, parents, families, legislators, going forward in the next year. Again, while the proposal did not pass into law and it did not make it to the governor’s desk, there’s a lot to be proud of from the work that the Iowa school choice coalition did this year. Next, I’m going to go ahead and transition to Pennsylvania. For those who have been following the legislative session this year, you know that the lifeline scholarship ESA proposal is still alive. This proposal has already passed a whole House vote and has moved to the Senate Education Committee where it awaits hearing. Again, this is a huge accomplishment in Pennsylvania to see a proposal that would help fund students at low performing schools, students with IEPs and students who are part of military families to have education savings accounts. So as our coalition, as our advocates, as our parents in Pennsylvania keep working hard, keep educating the public, we’re going to keep an eye on this and hopefully we will see this bill get to governor Wolf’s desk. As we look around the country, there’s more than just Pennsylvania and Iowa having action over this last month. I’m going to go ahead and turn it over to our state policy associate Ed Tarnowski so he can give you an update on what’s been going on in Louisiana.

Ed Tarnowski: Thank you, Jordan. Yeah, we still have some movement going down in Louisiana. There are multiple small ESA bills that are still pending with two that have now passed both chambers. We are yet to see whether or not the governor will sign it and what will happen with the other bills that are still pending. But Louisiana is something to keep an eye on.

Jordan: Thanks, Ed. Well, as legislative sessions end, there’s a lot to look back on. Unfortunately it wasn’t a year of educational or school choice, like in previous years or like last year. We didn’t have a major ESA program passed into law, but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because I saw a lot of great debate, a lot of great discussion around this issue. And there were a lot of proposals, a lot of efforts around the states that it just came up short, but not by a lot. So it’s important that as a movement, we keep chugging along, continuing to advocate for all students, for all children to have the best possible education. As we finish session, we also turn to conference season. So I just want to quickly give a shout out to any of our partners that are going to be at ALEC or the State Policy Network conference, or at NCSL to look for the EdChoice booth. So we can have a chance to talk you, to share our research with you. And of course, as always share some of our EdChoice swag with you. We look forward to next month, giving you another update on Pennsylvania and Louisiana. And for now we are out.