Friday, January 27, 2012

Record Number of Children Enrolled in Private School Choice Programs this Year


More than 210,000 children are participating in publicly funded private school choice programs across the nation, according to the School Choice Yearbook 2011-12 released by the Alliance for School Choice.

The Alliance’s annual Yearbook, entitled School Choice Now: The Year of School Choice, is a collection of the nation’s most accurate data on private school choice programs across the country. The 2011-12 edition, which was coauthored by Alliance Communications Manager Michelle Gininger, contains an analysis of trends and information regarding school choice, a directory of the accountability provisions and requirements for each of the 27 private school choice programs, and a chronicle of the events from the past year.

Among the findings:

- School choice programs in the United States have grown nearly 25 percent since 2007.
- Seven new programs were enacted last year, including a new program in Indiana that boasted the highest first-year enrollment ever for a voucher plan. Of the new programs, there are four voucher programs, one scholarship tax credit program, one individual tuition tax credit, and one education savings account program—a new program that lets parents use education dollars on a variety of educational tools.
- Ten of the 27 school choice programs are specifically tailored to serve children with special needs, benefiting almost 30,000 students nationwide.
- Nearly all of the children participating in America’s school choice programs come from low- or middle-income families or are students with special needs.
- Florida is home to the greatest number of students who benefit from school choice, with 65,000 students participants in the state’s two existing programs.
- Two states—Ohio and Arizona—have four school choice programs each.

In step with what The Wall Street Journal has dubbed as “The Year of School Choice,” the Yearbook chronicles not only the new programs, but how significant expansions everywhere from Wisconsin to Georgia to Washington, D.C. made 2011 such a breakthrough year.

“It was unquestionably a remarkable year in the fight to give educational opportunities to low-income families,” said Yearbook coauthor Malcom Glenn, the national director of communications at the Alliance. “The gains of 2011 give us great momentum towards helping even more kids in the year ahead.”

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