School Choice Yearbook 2008-09
February 25, 2009
Geoffrey Goodman et al.
Alliance for School Choice and Advocates for School Choice
This second edition of the Alliance's Yearbook mainly updates its inaugural publication without adding significant new content. And prospective readers should note that the authors answer the question "What is School Choice?" in a specific (and perhaps limiting) way: "To us, school choice puts parents in charge of their children's education by letting them choose the best schools for their kids, whether public or private." Thus, charter schools and public-sector open enrollment programs are not tabulated. Still, it's useful for what it is: a trove of data, charts, and details on vouchers and tax credits. In the 2008-09 school year, for example, an estimated 171,000 children are participating in 11 voucher programs and seven scholarship tax credit programs, spread across 10 states and the District of Columbia. Digging in, we find that these programs have grown modestly in the last year (8 percent more students) but tremendously since 2004 (nearly doubling). State profiles offer details on each program, and the resources include organizations that can help the curious politician draft choice legislation. Even as threats loom to kill the extant D.C. voucher program, the authors offer an upbeat prognosis for the future: Democratic support, they say, is growing; school choice bills are sprouting up in nearly every state (if not often becoming law); and even teachers support choice (as first reported in Education Next). In fact, the whole report is implausibly cheery. Still and all, the Yearbook remains a useful reference for anyone who cares about these issues and, as we said last year, it's "a shot in the arm to school choice advocates." You can find it here.