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“The Education Debit Card: It’s Everywhere You Want to Learn”

Not long ago, my mom came along with me to the toy store to buy a new set of Legos. When it came time to pay, mom pulled out a piece of plastic from her wallet and handed it to the cashier. It was like magic! The store treated the card like real money, and I got to take home the Legos.

I later had a talk with my parents, and realized it wasn’t quite as magical as I first thought. That debit card my mom used was just keeping track of the money that’s already there.

What if Colorado gave students and parents a debit card they could use just for education-related expenses? Well, enter my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow:

“The Education Debit Card,” he concludes, “an idea whose time has come.” Those of you out there who are really astute and paying attention know that this isn’t the first time I’ve enthusiastically talked to you about the next frontier of choice, known as Education Savings Accounts.

In fact, exactly one month ago I brought your attention to a number of states, including Colorado, that are considering ESA bills this year. How many of them win approval will go a long way toward determining whether 2015 qualifies as the “Year of School Choice: Part II.”

Even better would be to see one or more states follow the grand idea of Cato’s Jason Bedrick and Heritage’s Lindsey Burke and combine the advantages of ESA with tax credits.

Meanwhile, Bedrick, Burke, and a few other freedom-loving education policy gurus latched on to Ben’s 1-minute Freedom Minute video to come with some alternate closing slogans. I’ve arranged them into my top 5 favorites:

  1. “There are some things vouchers can’t buy. For everything else, there’s the Education Debit Card.”
  2. “The Education Debit Card: It’s everywhere you want to learn.”
  3. “I’ve got a customized lifetime education–What’s in your wallet?”
  4. “The Education Debit Card: Don’t leave home without it.”
  5. “An education where you can ‘name your price’.”

No one ever counted me among the Mad Men set of advertising gurus. Nonetheless, I can’t help but get excited at the thought that more families will be empowered to pursue a range of educational opportunities previously unavailable to them. Whatever the slogan is, that idea just makes me feel good!