Minnesota Coalition School Choice Rally took place on January 24, 2017 at the Minnesota State Capitol. Students, teachers, and school choice supporters from across the state hosted a rally to share their message with Minnesota: School Choice Works!

What is National School Choice Week

Held every January, National School Choice Week is the world’s largest annual celebration of opportunity in education. The goal is to raise public awareness of all types of education options for children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling.

National School Choice Week LCA

Minnesota considers tax credit for private school tuition

A national battle over education made its way to the Minnesota Capitol on Tuesday, January 24, as lawmakers considered a measure to extend an education tax credit to cover private school tuition payments. The proposal would allow parents to include private school tuition payments when calculating an educational expenses tax credit. Supporters, including bill author Rep. Ron Kresha said it would give parents more options for educating their children. Opponents, including teachers union Education Minnesota, say it would sap resources from public schools.

The proposal comes amid a national debate about shifting public money toward private schools. President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is a major supporter of an educational voucher system.

Minnesota residents flooded the Capitol building Tuesday morning to lobby both for and against the legislation. The bill is being heard this week because Sunday marked the beginning of National School Choice Week, an event put on by education think tanks and advocacy groups.

School Choice Options Available for Minnesota Families

According to National School Choice Week’s organizers, families in Minnesota can use the week to look for K-12 schools for the 2017-18 school year. Parents in the North Star State can choose from the following education options for their children: traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online academies, private schools, and homeschooling. In some parts of the state, open enrollment policies allow parents to select the best traditional public school, regardless of where the school is located. The state also has a program allowing qualifying children, in some cases, to receive tax credits to attend private schools.

Four Brief Facts on School Choice

  1. 1 in 5 students do not attend a traditional public school – Recent data from the Fordham Foundation show that a little over 20% of America’s students have chosen to opt-out of their traditional public school and chose some other form of education, including charter and private schools.
  2. Most people support for school choice – Two of the most popular forms of school choice include tax credits and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). 60% of Americans support both of these options.
  3. Half of American parents wish their child didn’t have to attend public school – According to the 2015 Schooling in America Survey, 50% of parents would either choose a private school or homeschooling for their child if they had the option. A lack of financial resources is the main hindrance to this goal for many families.
  4. School choice offers a variety of benefits to students, parents and the general public – A majority of school choice studies have found that school choice raises the academic outcomes of students.