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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • California lacks education tax credit scholarship program, shortchanges students

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  • Parents in California do not have all available options to choose the best education for their child, according to a new analysis released by the Center for Education Reform, School Choice Today: Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014. The first of its kind, the Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014 is an in-depth analysis and state-by-state comparison of the 14 tax credit-funded scholarship programs currently in existence. 
    As of 2014, 14 states have enacted tax credit-funded scholarship programs, with half of those states enacting programs in just the past three years. Tax credit-funded scholarship programs now pay tuition for approximately 190,000 students, a school choice program participation level that is surpassed only by enrollment in charter schools.
    "The key to truly transforming learning in the United States is by allowing parents a portfolio of educational options that aren't restricted by zip code," said Kara Kerwin, president of the Center for Education Reform. "It's time for lawmakers to acknowledge the proven benefits of school choice, and tax credit scholarship programs are an important piece of the puzzle."
    "What the Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014 reveals is that we need more states with strong laws, because strong laws facilitate greater participation in school choice programs," said Brian Backstrom, lead researcher and author of the report and a senior advisor to CER.
    "California would be wise to model tax credit scholarship legislation off of states like Arizona and Florida, both earning 'A' grades on the Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014. There should be no excuse from California lawmakers to do what's best for parents and students given the fact that we have powerful examples of what a successful tax credit scholarship program looks like," said Kerwin.
    "There absolutely needs to be a sense of urgency around creating more educational options for students and parents. Not only is the U.S. falling behind when it comes to student achievement on a global stage, but the U.S. Census predicts an influx of over 11 million school-aged children in the next 20 years. State lawmakers must act now to allow for new and innovative options in order to address this demographic reality and national security issue," said Kerwin.
    Kara Kerwin, president of CER, and Brian Backstrom, a senior policy advisor to CER and lead researcher and author of this report, are available for comment on the Education Tax Credit Scholarships Ranking & Scorecard 2014. Members of the media should contact CER Communications Director Michelle Tigani at 301 986 8088 or michelle@edreform.com to set up interviews.
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