In Arizona, Florida, and Mississippi, students from different walks of life are using education savings accounts to meet a variety of needs (again, at the time of this writing, Tennessee and Nevada have not awarded accounts to students yet). In Florida and Mississippi, students with special needs are eligible for the accounts. In Arizona, lawmakers have expanded eligibility and made the accounts available to students that may need more help with classwork after school or who would like to study online because their family must move often (as is the case with military families, for example).
Students have many choices with their accounts, and evidence from Arizona indicates they are taking advantage of this flexibility. Furthermore, research continues to demonstrate that when students have choices for their education, the outcomes are positive. Test-score-related achievement is welcome, but so is evidence that children that can choose a private school are more likely to have lower crime rates than their peers as evidence from the nation’s oldest private school scholarship program in Milwaukee has demonstrated. Evidence also indicates that students using private school scholarships are more likely to attend and persist in college.
Such research findings are important for students. Education savings accounts are helping different kinds of students, and the educational options afforded these children resemble other private school choice opportunities that have led to positive outcomes for children.
With their newfound ability to search and pay for learning experiences, parents have more flexibility to meet their children’s needs. Parents have never had more
schools and services to choose from. As Quinn Cummings, author of The Year of Learning Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling.
Education savings accounts offer accountability in education spending and can be a cost savings for taxpayers. With the accounts, the state provides funds directly to families and audits every purchase, instead of funding schools, where revenues and expenses are difficult to track. Savings account families then report expenses to the state. Every penny in an education savings account is accounted for.