More states push school voucher programs

By: | February 3, 2021

In Iowa, a bill that would directly give families over $5,000 to help finance the cost of private school is quickly making its way through the legislature. In Georgia, lawmakers introduced a bill that would give families savings accounts with money to use on private school tuition. In Florida, Republicans are set to push new legislation that would expand the state’s already-vast network of publicly funded private school scholarships.

In the first few weeks of 2021, state legislators have introduced a wave of new bills designed to expand or create new voucher, tax credit and education savings account programs. While these programs are often controversial ― eliciting staunch opposition from public school groups and teachers unions ― advocates say they have seen new momentum after a wave of Republican wins in statehouses and a pandemic that has forced millions of schoolchildren to learn from home. So far, new legislation related to private school choice has been introduced in over 15 states during 2021.

Private school choice programs have long been a pet cause of conservatives, and expanding such initiatives was the singular goal of former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos during the Trump administration. While she failed to expand these programs on a federal level despite repeated attempts, they are experiencing a surge at the state level, just weeks after her departure.

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