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ICYMI: DC Devotes $29K per Student Each Year. What if Parents Controlled That Money?

• ExcelinEd

Public schools in Washington, D.C., have made incredible strides in recent years, but there is still much more that can be done to improve education for all students in the District.

Last week, The Heritage Foundation released a new report by Matthew Ladner, “Power to the People: Putting DC Parents in Charge of K–12 Education.” In a recent article, Heritage Foundation’s Mary Clare Reim looked at the report and points out how a robust system of parental choice could make all the difference in the world for DC students. Check out her piece below:

DC Devotes $29K per Student Each Year. What if Parents Controlled That Money?
The Daily Signal
By: Mary Clare Reim

Washington, D.C., public schools consistently underperform relative to the rest of the country, while having the highest per-pupil revenue in the nation.

D.C. revenue exceeds $29,000 per pupil every year, while graduation rates hover at about 64 percent and only one-third of its fourth-graders read at a proficient level. Clearly the “spend more” model has not been working for the families of Washington, D.C.

In a new Heritage Foundation research report published by Matthew Ladner, he explains that “despite decades of overall progress, public education in the District of Columbia remains troubled, with significant room for improvement. Coupled with sky high per-pupil spending, far too few District students acquire the sort of education needed to fulfill their potential.”

Moreover, Ladner explains how the distribution of funding in the federal city makes little sense:

From an equity standpoint, it is difficult to justi­fy the District’s school finance system. The system routinely provides $29,000 for high-income stu­dents attending regular public schools. It provides $14,000 for high-income students attending charter schools but only a maximum of $8,381 for some low-income students who would like to attend a private school system that improves the chances for gradua­tion by approximately 21 percent.

Ladner goes on to describe how access to education savings accounts could dramatically improve D.C.’s sub-par education record. Education savings accounts give parents about 90 percent of what the state (or in this case, the District) would have spent on that child that year. With this account, parents can completely customize their child’s education by choosing from a variety of schools, educational services, and products…

Read Reim’s complete piece at The Daily Signal, and check out Dr. Ladner’s recent EdFly Blog post, “Time to Take Off the School Choice Training Wheels in D.C.

Visit ExcelinEd’s Policy Library to learn more about Education Savings Accounts.

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