(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
The Heritage Foundation has published a new web memo on Education Savings Accounts as a vehicle for parental choice. At this point, Arizona has passed an ESA program for special needs students, a proposal is under consideration in Ohio, Florida lawmakers considered a provision last year, and Utah has a whopper of a proposal on the way.
I had the opportunity to speak to Utah legislator John Dougall about his forthcoming proposal. Rep. Dougall plans to file a bill that would send all education funding into Education Savings Accounts controlled by parents and guardians, but does not intend to make private school tuition a permissable expense for funds in the account. Dougall in essence plans to have a discussion about customized learning rather than a public vs. private school debate.
Being a Longhorn, this of course brings to mind a scene from the master thespian of our era, the great Matthew McConaughey:
McConaughey: Hey man, you got some private school choice in that ESA proposal?
Passenger: No man, not in this proposal.
McConaughey: Well, it would be alot cooler if you did!
Seriously though, Dougall’s proposal is sufficiently mind-blowing that it doesn’t really bother me that he is choosing to leave private schools out of the mix. If ten years from now Utah is funding district and virtual schooling through an ESA system and the private choice options available were going through tax credit and voucher mechanisms, you won’t hear any complaints from me.