Patrick Hampton / September 6, 2021

The Time for Education Savings Accounts Is Now

Inconsistencies are devaluing the education system that was established to serve society.

When I enrolled my two younger sons in public school, I did so as a matter of convenience. After all, as a taxpaying citizen, I am entitled to services from a system that I and many others pay into — whether we have children or not. But in the wake of rouge COVID protocols enforced on the local and state levels, the education system has become a pain, riddled with inconsistencies in scheduling, school closures, and programs, leaving parents to fill in the gaps on their own.

Last week I learned that my kids would shift from their usual five-day-a-week schedule to having two intermittent off days. Administrators made these decisions with no proof of their viability and without the consultation of parents (to which I believe we should establish a Parent’s Union to fight back against wayward plans like these). Decisions were made for us, but not on our behalf. And with many of us with full-time jobs and rigid schedules to keep things afloat, these inconsistencies are devaluing the education system that was established to serve the family and society as a whole.

To this, I say the time for educational savings accounts is now. I’ve opined on my viewpoints on ESAs before, but never could there be a time more appropriate to access such resources. To summarize the value of ESAs, schools receive state funds for each child in attendance. But since students are barely benefitting from the school system as it stands today, it makes sense to apply a model in which the taxpayer dollars follow the student to an academic institution of their choosing. For some families, this means taking matters into their own hands and adopting a homeschooling program. Others may send a child to a better school in another district. Some could even attend the private school of their dreams.

Additionally, ESAs are the answer to putting the power back into the parents’ hands on either side of the mask mandate debate. I believe in a family’s right to choose, and the funds should rightfully go to the individual or institution that is fulfilling the educational role. And with the number of parents considering and proceeding with a homeschooling program, it would be a disservice to shut these families out of the taxpayer money they’ve already paid into a system that would not serve them due to strict COVID protocols.

If anything, ESAs would make the education system better as schools vie for state funds and use them to improve and attract more families. Historically, free market competition outperforms government oversight by a long shot, and applying this model to public schools across the country will alleviate much of the conflict and confusion that take away from simply offering a great education to the kids who deserve it. If we’re really looking for solutions, why are ESAs not one of them?

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