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1000s Embrace Florida K-12 Choice: When Can Colorado Kids Win, Too?

I hope you haven’t forgotten about helping Colorado Kids Win (including giving the Facebook page a “Like”). After all, it’s been two whole weeks since I’ve reminded you about the benefits of K-12 scholarship tax credits that our state’s kids could really use.

And you know that this particular little kid will use almost any excuse he can to get you speaking out for more school choice right here in the great Centennial State. Take for instance some intriguing news from the nation’s largest (and second oldest) scholarship tax credit program:

Students using school choice scholarships now make up nearly a third of K-12 students in Florida private schools.

As the brief article by Ron Matus of Step Up for Students points out, the 88,192 Florida private school students with choice program financial assistance also incorporates special-needs kids using parent-directed McKay Scholarships. But nearly 60,000 of that total are the low-income kids who get the direct benefit of private donations to a non-profit scholarship organization.

That last part is what we are really focusing on here in Colorado. And apparently in Massachusetts, too! Yesterday the Pioneer Institute released “Giving Kids Credit: Using Scholarship Tax Credits to Increase Educational Opportunity in Massachusetts” by Jason Bedrick and Ken Ardon.

The Cato Institute’s Bedrick (who isn’t new to faithful Ed Is Watching readers) followed up on his blog yesterday to break apart a couple key myths that may be seen as Bay State roadblocks to a type of school choice program that is gaining steam around the nation:

  1. Despite Massachusetts’ strong overall record in academic achievement, he notes there are low-income parts of the state with less impressive results that could benefit more from tax credits. Eligible students would be limited to students below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
  2. Their research also demonstrates that the state’s sky-high average private school tuition — out of reach to poorer kids even with significant scholarship aid — is “skewed by the presence of numerous expensive boarding schools,” and that local tuition rates are much more reasonable.

But the kicker is Professor Ardon’s fiscal analysis. He shows, even more clearly and effectively than my Education Policy Center friends have done, how the state treasury saves money with each new participating scholarship student. Remember? It’s part of the Win-Win-Win results.

Taken altogether, this thoughtful report ought to make New Englanders stop and give the idea some serious thought. And then they can call their friends and loved ones in Colorado and urge them to get behind scholarship tax credits, too! Right?

Our states could be the Florida of tomorrow. What do I mean? Someday, a future Eddie may be writing about how large numbers of private school students in Massachusetts and Colorado are getting tax credit scholarship aid. And even more importantly, I look forward to seeing signs that these current and future kids exercising educational choice are headed for a brighter tomorrow!