In 2013, Anita Belcher was a single mom in Arizona trying to raise two young boys, both with learning disabilities. Thanks to the Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) school choice program, she was able to enroll the oldest child in a private school that met his special needs.
“The first week he was there, he cried, he literally cried because he didn’t want to leave,” Anita said. “It brought me to tears. That’s the great thing about the scholarship, you get to decide where you want to place your child or if you even want to homeschool.”
(You can watch Anita tell her story at this YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opEcRNECeyI)
In the four years since Anita used Arizona’s ESA program to rescue her child from public schools that couldn’t meet his needs and her own expectations, scores of additional school choice programs have been created and existing programs expanded all across the country. That’s good news for kids and parents.
School Choice Arrives
After a long and slow climb beginning half-a-century ago, school choice has finally arrived. New programs are starting and existing programs are being expanded in unprecedented numbers.
After false starts in the 1990s, when Milwaukee launched the first modern voucher program, and again in the first decade of the twenty-first century, when the Supreme Court cleared away concerns about the constitutionality of letting parents choose the schools their children attend, school choice has finally arrived.
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