ESAs Fund Parents and Children
An ESA gives parents the choice to customize their child’s education and respond to their unique needs regardless of income, location, cost, special needs, or other barriers currently preventing choice. The funding goes to the parents for approved educational expenditures such as tuition, tutoring, therapies, or online learning.
Do the ESAs take money away from public schools and fund private schools? No.
The grant goes to the parents who can then choose approved school options that best fit their children’s needs. Many studies have shown that school choice programs do not have a detrimental effect on public schools. There has not been a mass exodus from public schools when a widespread choice program has been implemented.
Why is an ESA needed in Iowa?
Education is not a one-size-fits all service. Giving parents and students choices is also not a zero-sum game. All ships can rise as we make sure every child has access to the education that best meets their needs:
- Parents should have the freedom to choose their child’s learning options.
- ESAs give parents options to seek schools with smaller class sizes and more individualized teacher attention.
- ESAs offer parents the opportunity to access schools with curriculums that better fit their needs (high level science, engineering and math).
- ESAs should be available to all families regardless of income or special needs.
If parents choose to use an ESA grant to send their child to a faith-based school, doesn’t that violate the separation of church vs. state?
America has had a long history of allowing religious institutions to serve the citizenry. Parents have been allowed to send their children to religious pre-schools that the state funds, Medicaid patients can choose religious hospitals for care, and the GI bill from the early 20th century allowed the greatest generation to pay for tuition at religious colleges and even seminary. A number of recent court cases have all but ended the debate by striking down policies based on anti-religious bigotry or many states’ unfortunate “Blaine Amendments” in their constitutions. Funding parents and their choices is Constitutional.