More children are likely to have increased access to educational options after state legislators across the U.S. advanced a slew of bills this year expanding school choice, according to several state-by-state surveys.
“This is a banner year for the educational choice movement. Hundreds of thousands of children nationwide will now have greater access to educational opportunities,” Jason Bedrick, director of policy at Ed Choice, a national nonprofit organization that promotes state-based educational choice programs, told The Center Square.
At least 50 school choice bills have been introduced in 30 states so far, designed to create or expand vouchers, tax-credit scholarships and education savings accounts, among other measures.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed a trio of bills Thursday to expand education options in Georgia.
Senate Bill 47 expands the state’s Special Needs Scholarship program to students with 504 Plans. The program offers scholarships for students with individualized education plans to attend a private school or a public school of their choice.
“COVID-19 has certainly highlighted the challenges that families face and finding the right education for their child, especially those with special needs,” Kemp said Thursday during a bill signing ceremony at the state Capitol. “This bill will give more parents greater options to ensure their child has every opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
About 42% of more than 8,500 public school districts in the country have returned to full in-person instruction, according to a “Return to Learn” tracker developed by the American Enterprise Institute and the College Crisis Initiative of Davidson College.
Iowa and Florida, which are fully reopened, are the only two states in which 100% of their school districts are providing in-person educational instruction, the analysis found. While Texas is also fully reopened, only 73% of its districts are providing full in-person instruction. Districts in states still under lockdown restrictions, like the District of Columbia and Hawaii, have no schools providing full in-person instruction, the analysis found.
After states shut down schools and forced families into virtual learning, parents and families found new ways to provide K-12 education to their children. While doing so, support for school choice options soared, a new poll from Real Clear Opinion Research found.
Among those surveyed, 71% said they support school choice, which is defined as giving parents the option to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school that best serves their needs. Across all racial and ethnic demographics, an overwhelming majority expressed support for school choice: Blacks (66%), Hispanic (68%), and Asian (66 percent).
These results “were the highest level of support ever recorded from major AFC national polling with a sample size above 800 voters,” the survey states.
by Larry Sand According to the Burbio school tracker, 53 percent of schools nationwide are now fully open for business. With the new Centers for Disease Control guidelines having determined that three-feet is a safe distance for students, one would think the other 47 percent would embrace the chance to…
Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.
Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.
During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that it is updating its physical distancing guidelines for children in schools by reducing the space between them from 6 feet to 3 feet.
The agency said the update was made in response to new data and recommended 3 feet with some qualification – including that each student is wearing a mask, according to CNN.
Though some students have found learning at home relieves them of school’s social stresses, many others miss their teachers, classmates, and the routine of the school day. Some of the little ones have become more defiant and have reverted to bed-wetting, while many older students suffer from depression.