While school choice has been advancing steadily across the country, sometimes progress can be two steps forward, one step back. This week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board penned an article calling attention to the stunning success of political efforts to enshrine school choice in the state of Ohio. Where Pennsylvania recently backed down on a school voucher proposal, Ohio has just opened a state voucher program to all families.
Under Ohio’s pre-existing EdChoice Scholarship Program, families earning under 250% of the federal poverty level were eligible to receive K-12 school vouchers. The program was also offered to families with students attending the state’s worst-performing schools; however, the recent legislation has expanded the eligibility for vouchers to all families, irrespective of income or school attendance. K-8 students will be eligible to receive scholarships totaling $6,165 which rises to $8,407 for high school students. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, this change will make over 90,000 students currently attending private schools without a scholarship eligible for the program.
The picture is just as rosy for the state’s charter schools. Charters will receive about a 12% increase in state funding and $1,000 per student in facilities funding. High-performing charters, which receive extra financial benefits, could receive around a 40% boost in funding, bringing them nearly on par with the resources provided to the state’s public schools.
We are pleased by Ohio's bold step forward in providing resources to the state's private schools. With the expansion of the voucher program and increased funding for charter schools, Ohio is solidifying its commitment to school choice and creating more opportunities for families to access quality education options. It serves as a striking contrast to Pennsylvania's recent setback in pursuing school voucher initiatives, where Ohio has chosen to support educational freedom and empower parents in their children's education.