School Choice: Know Your Options

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The American education system is in crisis. There are growing public concerns over reduced academic standards in general and the poor performance of numerous school districts in particular. As more parents elect to send their kids to private schools, they must cope with the challenge of paying for this choice. Many financial solutions and workarounds to this problem are currently being tested across the country.

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Scholarship Tax Credits

Children are assigned to public schools based on where they live, and these schools are funded by local property taxes. In this way, districts with poorer residents often have poorer quality schools. The school choice movement supports alternatives to level the playing field.

The most common programs involve scholarship tax credits. Participating states give tax credits in exchange for donations to organizations which create school tuition scholarships. Students receive these scholarships to attend sammamish private schools, or public schools in better districts.

School Vouchers

Almost as common, school vouchers are government-issued certificates for students to attend a private school of their choice, or that of their parents. Such schools would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for the family. Public schools are funded per-student, and each voucher is funded with the money already earmarked for one child’s education.

Charter Schools and Other Alternatives

Enrolling children in charter schools is an increasingly popular option. Charter schools are public schools without all the regulations of a normal public school. They are given operational flexibility, including in their curriculum, provided they meet strict performance guidelines. The exact laws for charter schools vary by state, but most states now have some form of charter school system.

In urban areas, magnet schools are public schools with special curricula and an application process like private schools. Home-schooling and cyber-schooling options also exist for families with the resources.

We all want our children to have the best possible future. Providing your kids with a quality education is a big step toward building that future.