Private School Choice Participation

From 2003 to 2013, the number of students enrolled in private school choice programs increased by about 218,000.

CHANGES

10-year: ▲ 217,947

5-year: ▲ 127,082

1-year: ▲ 62,706

NUMBER OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAMS

Source: Alliance for School Choice Yearbook, 2013–2014.+

Source: Alliance for School Choice, School Choice Yearbook 2013–14, (accessed May 16, 2014).-

Featured Commentary

School Choice Spreads … and So Does Hope

More than 300,000 children are attending private schools of their choosing thanks to options like vouchers, tuition tax credit programs, and education savings accounts. When all school choice policy options are considered—for example, deductions for homeschooling expenses—more than one million children are benefitting from choice in education.

The idea that parents have no control over where their children go to school is unthinkable. But currently in America, most children must go to a school based not on their choice but on the five digits of their zip code.

Parents are desperate to get their kids out of failing public schools and into better ones. School choice has made this desire a reality, and, consequently, children are succeeding where they previously had little hope for the future. For example, school choice helps students like Jordan White, who, after enrolling in a Washington, D.C., private school, was able to excel and went on to graduate from Oberlin College. Jordan is now working in Japan as a translator for a large Japanese company. Without the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship she received to attend the school of her choice, Jordan believes that she would not have been so successful.

School choice programs provide families with an opportunity to send their children to schools that best meet their children’s unique needs. The popularity of these programs demonstrates just how unsatisfied parents are with their local public schools.

Empowering parents with the freedom to choose what school they want their child to attend is the right thing to do.

Virginia Walden Ford is a Visiting Fellow in the Domestic Policy Studies Department, of the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation. She is the author of Voices, Choices, and Second Chances.