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1A Remaking America: Who gets to choose when it comes to school choice?

A student is seen in a classroom in Nevitt Elementary School, in Phoenix, Arizona.
A student is seen in a classroom in Nevitt Elementary School, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The perennial debate over school choice is ramping up once again in state legislatures across the country. At least 11 states are considering or have passed legislation this year that would allow public funds to go toward private school tuition or homeschooling, according to EdWeek

Kansas iscurrently weighing four proposals related to school choice. One, known as The Sunflower Education Equity Act, would allow parents to receive $5,000 from the public education budget to go toward private tuition. Iowa and Utah passed similar legislation last month.

But critics of school vouchers worry they divert money from public schools and that there’s little to no oversight of how the money is spent. Arizona, which was the first state to establish Education Savings Accounts, has come under scrutiny for possible misuse of ESA funds, with reports of parents using tax dollars to purchase ice-skating, calf roping lessons, and chicken coops.

We take a look at which states have school choice programs, which students they work for, and who they leave behind. 

Remaking America is a collaboration with six public radio stations around the country. We partnered with KMUW in Wichita, Kansas for this conversation. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

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