(July 2016) The Policy Foundation will hold an event in late July explaining school choice programs.  Arkansas became the 25th state to enact a school choice program in 2015.  The idea originated with Dr. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), the 1976 Nobel Economics Laureate.  Dr. Friedman was born July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, N.Y.


School choice programs include education savings accounts, tax credits and deductions, tax credit scholarships and vouchers.  The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice provides the following descriptions for each type of program:1


Education savings accounts allow parents "to withdraw their children from a public school district or charter school and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts.  Those funds can cover private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, educational therapies, college course costs, and other higher education expenses."


Tax credits and deductions allow parents to "receive state income tax relief for approved educational expenses, which can include private school tuition, books, supplies, computers, tutors, and transportation.  Tax credits lower the total taxes a person owes; a deduction reduces a person's total taxable income."


Tax credit scholarships allow taxpayers to receive "full or partial tax credits for donating to nonprofits that provide K-12 private school scholarships.  The amount of tax credits distributed is capped at an amount determined by" a legislative body, "which, in turn, affects the availability and size of scholarships."


Vouchers give parents "all or a portion of the public funding set aside for their children's education to choose private schools that best fit their learning needs.  State funds typically expended by a school district are allocated to families in the form of a voucher to pay partial or full tuition at a private school, including religious and non-religious options."  Arkansas' Succeed Scholarship Program, enacted in 2015, is a voucher-style program.


The late July event is free, informal and open to the public.  The forum will start at Noon.  Please contact the Policy Foundation at (501) 537-0825 for further information or to make a reservation.