January 9, 2013

Making Public Education More Flexible

I recently “sat down” with Jonathan Butcher, education director of the Goldwater Institute, to discuss education savings accounts (ESA).

During our conversation, Butcher explained how education savings accounts work in Arizona and how they are different from vouchers or tax-credit scholarships. In his words, “The biggest difference is flexibility.” Unlike vouchers or tax-credit scholarships, the funds are not restricted to private school tuition; they can be spent on a host of education services and goods.

Another benefit of the program in Arizona is that it actually saves the state money.

“In Arizona, the program is designed so that each savings account comes as a cost savings to the state because only a percentage of a student’s portion from the funding formula is deposited in an account,” Butcher said.

For more on ESAs, read Butcher’s report: “Education Savings Accounts: A Path to Give All Children an Effective Education and Prepare Them for Life.”

You can watch the full video of our chat below.

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