March
5th 2014
School Choice Legislative Debates Spread Across Map; Time for Colorado Kids to Win

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Parents & School Choice & State Legislature & Tax Credits

The effort to recognize and support families with wider ranges of educational choices continues to move in different states (just not Colorado… for the moment). Empowering parents with options is one side of the coin to get parents motivated and engaged. And the research continues to show choice programs help improve results in what students learn and attain. Better learning, brighter futures.

The Friedman Foundation’s Ed Choice blog highlights legislative action in 11 different states. From a proposal to expand the new scholarship tax credit program in Alabama to a “sliding-scale” voucher bill in Rhode Island, lawmakers throughout the U.S. are considering ways to empower individual students and families to take ownership of their education rather than propping up a one-size-fits-all approach.

And it looks like those 11 states may be just the beginning. A commenter mentions a fight to bring vouchers to Tennessee. Close by (and following close behind Mississippi), Florida is taking a look at Education Saving Accounts for special-needs students.

Last but not least, New York State of all places is looking at adopting a somewhat unique Education Investment Tax Credit. Fordham’s Chad Aldis writes at Choice Words:

The latest version of the bill pending in the Assembly is smartly crafted to provide a little bit for everyone. First, individuals or corporations will be able to donate to eligible organizations in order to claim a portion (up to 75 percent of taxes owed or $1 million per filer, whichever is less) of the up to $300 million in dollar-for-dollar credits. Eligible contributions will be restricted so that they are split evenly between public-school programs and private-school scholarships for students living in households making $300,000 or less. A revised Senate version likely will place the income threshold at $500,000—the same income cutoff as Mayor deBlasio’s proposal for tax hikes to fund prekindergarten. Under both versions of the bill, teachers could also receive a credit up to $200 for school supplies.

The proposal is especially interesting, not only because it is in a deep blue state with a Democrat governor and state assembly, but also because, if successful, it would provide a compelling argument for this particular approach to passing school choice.

Sure is compelling to little old me. Compelling that everyone from New York to Florida to Rhode Island to Mississippi to Alaska is weighing school choice enhancements, yet so much is quiet on the Rocky Mountain home front. Now, let’s talk about what we can do to help Colorado Kids Win.

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