Education Savings Accounts Are Good For Kids
On Feb. 24, the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger published an editorial supporting the establishment of education savings accounts (ESA) in the Magnolia state. The Mississippi ESA proposal closely resembles a proposal currently before the Missouri Legislature in that it would provide support to students with special needs. Essentially, it would allow students with special needs to receive financial assistance from the state. The students could then use that money to tailor their education to fit their needs.
The Clarion-Ledger wrote:
The Parents’ Campaign and others who oppose the proposal — called the Equal Opportunity for All Students with Special Needs Act — claim it’s a voucher program that would strip money from local districts.
But parents of special-needs children and others who support it say it’s a lifeline and a last-resort measure that will give them the ability to do what the state apparently cannot: Educate their children.
School districts doing a good job educating special-needs children have little to fear. Nary is the parent who will withdraw a child from an excellent educational setting.
In Florida, which passed a statewide choice program for special-needs students in 2001, just six percent of eligible students use the program, according to the Florida-based Foundation for Excellence in Education.
We support public schools, but we cannot support the systemic failure of certain students over the course of several decades without any signal from MDE that something will change.
As I have written before, “the beauty of ESAs is that they are versatile.” They put children and their families in the driver’s seat regarding their education. The Clarion-Ledger editorial board recognizes this fact.
Arizona was the first state to create an ESA program and parents have been very satisfied. Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Iowa may be the next states to adopt an ESA program. Will Missouri join that list? It would certainly help if papers such as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or the Kansas City Star came to the same conclusion as the Clarion-Ledger — that ESAs are good for kids.