Update, 6/28: If you want a comprehensive look at all this year’s school choice bills introduced and enacted state by state, check out this memo from the Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children.
2011 is the Year of School Choice. I may have missed it happening, but can somebody make it official already? What more proof do we need? The doors of educational opportunity have widened more in the past six months than any comparable period I’m aware of.
The latest news comes from Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law an expansion of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) and the creation of a similar program in Racine. The American Federation for Children calls it “the largest expansion to the state’s school choice programs in history, “ while the Foundation for Educational Choice shares the details, including:
- No more cap on the number of Milwaukee voucher participants
- More middle-income families eligible to receive a voucher
- Private schools outside of Milwaukee available to choose from as well as those inside the city
If you’ve been paying attention, I shouldn’t have to “Badger” you with the fact that Wisconsin isn’t (by far) the only place to advance school choice. I have kept readers updated on many of the latest happenings related to the local groundbreaking Douglas County Choice Scholarship program. For those who need some convincing that 2011 truly is the Year of School Choice, look at this list of states that have added or expanded one or more programs to empower parents with options:
- Indiana delivered the “Triple Play” (new voucher & tax deduction programs, expanded tax credit program)
- The D.C. voucher program was renewed and expanded!
- Arizona enacted cutting-edge “Education Savings Accounts”
- Oklahoma — yes, Oklahoma! — adopted tax credits and “expanded” its special education voucher program
- Florida beefed up its two major school choice programs
I’ve probably missed a few of the ultimate successes. And mentioning them doesn’t even include the progress proposals have made in places like Pennsylvania, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas — some of them still alive and kicking. If 2011 isn’t the Year of School Choice, then 1968 wasn’t the Year of the Pitcher. Yeah, take that one to the bank!