Should Reformers Support Education Savings Accounts?

ednext_XVI_3_forum_img01Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) apply the logic of school choice to the ever-expanding realm of education offerings. Rather than simply empowering families to select the school of their choice, ESAs provide families with most or all of the funds that the state would have spent on their child’s education. Funds can be spent on private school tuition, tutors, and online courses, for example, or be saved for future use.

In this forum, Matthew Ladner, senior advisor for policy and research at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, argues that ESAs offer a grand advance over charter schooling and deserve the support of reformers. Nelson Smith, education policy consultant and senior advisor to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, argues that the latest incarnation of ESAs in Nevada poses substantial risks and threatens to disrupt an increasingly successful charter school movement.

• “The Next Step in School Choice,” by Matthew Ladner

• “Expand Choice, but Keep the Public Interest in Mind,” by Nelson Smith


This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of Education Next. Suggested citation format:

Ladner, M., and Smith, N. (2016). Should Reformers Support Education Savings Accounts? Education Next, 16(3), 62-68.

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