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#EdPolicyOnline Talks School Choice

• Samantha Tankersley

“Choice in every other part of our lives has managed to bring innovation, differentiation and customization into existence in a way that is rapidly evolving and highly accountable. Why wouldn’t we want the same thing from education?”
– Derrell Bradford, Executive Director, NYCAN


Today, EdPolicy Leaders Online brings you the final sneak peek into our introductory course: Securing Our Nation’s Future: The Urgent Need for Education Reform. While the course provides an overview of a number of key reform efforts – including fewer and better assessments, high standards and accountability – this week we focus on the power of school choice.

School choice removes artificial boundaries and restrictions to offer parents the power and freedom to choose the school that best meets the educational needs of their children. Giving parents more choices encourages new types of schools, particularly ones that focus on training students in the social and technical skills they will need to succeed in college and that employers increasingly demand. The economic status of parents should not determine the educational outcome of children, and it should not be possible to determine the quality of a child’s education from his or her zip code.

To learn more, watch our school choice video below, featuring presenters:

  • Patricia Levesque, CEO, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Joel Klein, Co-Chair, U.S. Education Reform and National Security Independent Task Force
  • Derrell Bradford, Executive Director, NYCAN

School Choice from EdPolicy Leaders Online on Vimeo.

School choice focuses on creating the most effective education system by allowing parents more freedom over their students’ schooling options, and one of the most revolutionary school choice options is Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).

ESAs are an innovative way to bring customization to K-12 education. Through an ESA, parents are able to direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice. Parents are also able to save unused funds for future K-12 and higher education expenses – creating an incentive for parents to judge all K-12 expenses not only on quality but also on cost. By allowing parents to plan for their child’s unique needs, ESAs create a personal approach to education, where the ultimate goal is maximizing each child’s natural learning abilities.

Watch Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account Parent, Kathy Visser’s powerful testimony on how ESA’s transformed her son’s educational experience.

State Spotlight: Arizona ESA’s from EdPolicy Leaders Online on Vimeo.

Enroll now for access to all course content, including the complete library of our exclusive videos!

Want to hear what real-life policymakers and education leaders think of EdPolicy Leaders Online? Check out these posts:

About the author

Samantha Tankersley

Samantha is the Policy Coordinator for the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s new initiative, EdPolicy Leaders Online. Before joining ExcelinEd, Samantha served as an advocacy intern for the Foundation for Florida's Future while simultaneously pursuing her master's in Public Administration from Florida State University. Samantha has also served as a teaching assistant for international schools in England and Switzerland. She received her bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Central Florida in 2012.