What is Educational Choice?
Generally speaking, educational choice is the process of allowing every family to choose the K-12 educational options that best fit their children. Every child is unique, and all children learn differently. Some children might succeed at their assigned public school, while others might fit in better in a different environment. That’s why educational choice is so important!
In 2021, the Kentucky General Assembly passed the Education Opportunity Account (“EOA”) program. This program would have allowed privately donated funds to be deposited into an account that could have been used to pay for the education that best suits the needs of a particular family’s children. Unfortunately, the program was struck down by the Kentucky Supreme Court. EdChoice KY's statement can be found here.
An effort is currently underway to amend the Kentucky Constitution in order to make clear that the state legislature can pass educational choice programs for Kentucky families. Read all about it here - 2023 Legislative Session Wrap Up: School Choice Remains a ‘Top Priority’
EdChoice Kentucky will continue its work to develop policies that empower Kentucky parents to choose the classroom that best fits their children's needs.
Public School Choice
In most cases, students are assigned to their public school based on their home address. In Kentucky, whether a family can choose a school outside of their assigned district often depends on where they live. However, that will soon change with the passage of House Bill 563. Starting in fall of 2022, all Kentucky public school districts will have to adopt policies that allow more families to choose a public school outside of their assigned residential district.
Kentucky families can utilize a 529 Account to save money for educational expenses. These savings accounts grow over time free from state and federal taxes. For many years, this program was focused on college savings; but recently expanded to include K-12 expenses, including the cost of tuition. These programs are beneficial but can be challenging to utilize for lower-income families who may not have the capacity to save. You can learn more about 529 Accounts by clicking here.
Charter schools are public schools created by school districts or other authorized entities that typically operate independent of a traditional public school district. Kentucky passed a law in 2017 that authorized the creation of charter schools. However, the law was unfunded and no charter schools were formed in the years that followed. This will soon change with the passage of legislation in 2022 that funds charter schools and mandates the formation of at least two charter schools in Louisville and Northern Kentucky by fall of 2024. Learn more about charters here.