WSJ VIDEO: Educational Savings Accounts

Here’s something that intrigues us a lot more than the dopey Common Core debates, or even some of the school choice arguments we’ve seen, and definitely more than all the fighting about things like separate/independent school districts and new cities to get away from crappy public educational systems.

It’s a plan making its way through state legislatures, starting with Arizona and Florida where it’s already law, in which parents can use public money on Educational Savings Accounts from which they can pay for all kinds of things – private school tuition, tutoring, maybe equipment, college savings…whatever, so long as it furthers their kids’ educations.

We have a hunch this is the kind of thing that will ultimately mark education in the 21st century. At some point you’re going to see parents getting away from schools altogether, and instead opting for things like semi-private tutoring that leverages the information-transferring power of the internet, and getting a more personalized form of instruction for their kids which is actually friendly to THEIR schedule rather than that of the school.

There’s a poll out from last week on school choice, put out by the American Federation for Children, which finds that the public backs flowing the tax dollars to the parents rather than to school districts by a 69-27 score. The public is beginning to understand that where there’s a marketplace you’re going to get better results and the players in that marketplace will adapt to best practices and current technology or else they’ll die out at the hands of those who do.

It’s about time we start seeing things like ESA’s making their way into law in Louisiana. There has been a lot of progress on school choice in this state, but until the whole system is blown open and replaced by a marketplace there is no real reason to think Louisiana’s educational performance is going to get out of the bottom fifth nationally.

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