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On May 21, Washington Rep. Liz Pike introduced House Bill 2063, which would open up educational opportunities for children in her state. This bill would establish educational tax credits allowing Washington’s children to have access to more educational choices. Washington currently has very few options for school choice, and if passed, this would be a huge boost for education reform there.
Under the proposed legislation, children of lower-income families will be able to fill the existing vacancies in Washington’s independent schools. Currently, only one-third who apply for need-based scholarships receive them. If this bill passes, it will expand equality in education across income levels throughout the state.
School choice programs, including scholarship tax credits, have a long track record of proven success. Studies show that students that take advantage of these opportunities achieve higher academic performance, are more likely to graduate high school and enroll in college, and are more civic-minded. Therefore, we know that students, families, and communities all benefit from choice.
Not only would this legislation open up new avenues for success, it would free up state resources for other projects. The state will save approximately $6,300 per student who transfers to an approved provider. In the 2013-2015 budget, that could be in the range of $20m-$60m in savings for the cash strapped state.
Better opportunities for children while saving money? It sounds like a win-win proposition for the state of Washington. We hope Washingtonians will encourage their legislators to fight for school choice.