The Oregon Legislature begins its 2017 session on February 1st.
A pre-session bill has been filed which would create a broad Education Savings Account program for most K-12 Oregon students. The bill, sponsored by Senator Ted Ferroli, is SB 437.
With an Education Savings Account, parents can use part of the money that otherwise would have been spent on a student in a traditional public school to pay for a variety of costs, including private school tuition, tutoring, educational therapy, online courses, and materials.
A key improvement of ESAs over school vouchers and tax credits is that funds not used for K-12 educational purposes can be “saved” and used by the child for continuing or higher education, thus changing the “use it or lose it” mentality in the current public school funding system.
Conceived of by the Goldwater Institute of Arizona nearly a decade ago, Education Savings Accounts were first passed by that state’s Legislature in 2011 for special-needs children. In 2012 the program was expanded to children adopted out of the state foster system, children of active-duty military parents, and children in “D” and “F” failing schools. In June 2013, Arizona’s Governor signed a bill to expand ESAs to children entering kindergarten and increase funding for the accounts.
As Matthew Ladner, Ph.D. wrote for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice,
“Education savings accounts are the way of the future. Under such accounts—managed by parents with state supervision to ensure accountability—parents can use their children’s education funding to choose among public and private schools, online education programs, certified private tutors, community colleges, and even universities. Education savings accounts bring Milton Friedman’s original school voucher idea into the 21st century.”
Education Savings Accounts have not come to Oregon – yet. If you think they would help your children, or any Oregon students, please help Cascade Policy Institute make them a reality here.