School Choice Poised for Significant Gains in 2024
In 2023, the school choice movement achieved significant progress, marking it as the Year of Education Freedom. Seven states introduced new education choice policies, while nine states expanded existing ones. This growth resulted in nine states offering universal education choice policies, providing education savings accounts (ESAs) or similar options to every K-12 student. Looking ahead, 2024 promises to be a year of continued momentum, with several states poised to pass new or expanded education choice policies.
Alabama, often lagging in education choice compared to its neighbors, may see a change this year. Governor Kay Ivey (R) has set a bold goal to make Alabama the most school choice-friendly state in the nation, with plans to introduce an ESA bill in the upcoming legislative session.
Florida, already leading in education freedom, is looking to address certain limitations in its existing policies. Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill in 2023 to expand eligibility for the state’s Family Empowerment Scholarship to all K-12 students. However, issues around virtual learning and hybrid homeschooling still need to be addressed.
In Georgia, after several attempts to pass a comprehensive ESA policy, Governor Brian Kemp (R) is urging the General Assembly to pass an education choice policy without delay, emphasizing the urgency to act now.
Kentucky, which saw its innovative ESA policy struck down by the Supreme Court, is now fighting back with a proposed constitutional amendment. If passed by a supermajority in both legislative chambers, it will go to Kentucky voters for approval.
Louisiana is likely to see significant progress in education choice in 2024. Despite previous vetoes by the former Democrat governor, the new Republican Governor, Jeff Landry, is a staunch supporter of education choice, increasing the likelihood of policy enactment.
Mississippi, an early adopter of ESA policies, is now looking to expand its program beyond students with special needs. Governor Tate Reeves (R) is pushing for broader school choice reforms, supported by strong public backing.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) has made expanding education freedom a top priority, proposing a plan that would provide 20,000 scholarships in the 2024-25 school year.
Besides these states, others like Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming are also expected to make strides in school choice, driven by advocates and supportive legislators.
The trend is clear: 2024 is shaping up to be another banner year for school choice in the United States. With increasing support from state governments and a growing public demand for educational freedom, the school choice movement is poised for even greater achievements in the coming year, which is great news for students and parents.