No good reason to oppose Education Savings Accounts in Oklahoma
by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
VARIOUS groups want increased funding for kindergarten through 12th-grade schools this year. The harsh reality of the state’s budget situation makes meeting those demands near to impossible.
Yet one proposal, creation of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), could allow legislators to increase per-pupil funding without a dramatic spending hike — while also increasing children’s education options. This is a win-win for Oklahoma.
Under bills filed by Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, much of the per-pupil funding used to educate a child could instead be deposited in an individual bank account. Parents would be given a debit card and allowed to use that account to customize their child’s education. The money could be used for a wide range of education options, including tutoring, online courses, private school and other services. Money left unspent could continue to accumulate and be used for future educational needs.
Many Oklahoma lawmakers say they support parental involvement in K-12 education. The bills by Nelson and Jolley provide an opportunity to back up that rhetoric with action.