School choice programs, from charter schools to voucher and tax credit scholarship programs, enjoy bipartisan support and are growing quickly across a majority of states. However, not all school choice programs are created equal. Education savings accounts, sometimes called flexible education spending accounts or ESAs, are “the new kid on the block” in the arsenal of innovative programs that allow parents to direct funds toward the educational opportunities that best suit their child. ESAs take Milton Friedman’s initial voucher plans to the next logical step: allowing parents to fully control the dollars the state allocates for the education of their pupil.
This report explores the benefits and challenges that accompany the groundbreaking programs which allow parents to fully control state dollars allocated to their child’s education, as well as points to three tools – peer reviews, branding, and consumer reports – that parents will use in the future of individually-customized educational options.