relating to K through 12 education; creating the "School
Choice Act"; providing purpose and definitions;
providing for the value of credits and a child-centered
delivery system; providing for certification standards;
providing for distribution of Choice alternatives
information; providing duties of the Department of
Education and district school boards; providing an
Be it enacted by the Legislature
of the State of ______________:
Section 1. This act may be
cited as the "School Choice Act"
Section 2. The purpose of
this act is to improve student outcomes by: empowering
parents with financial control over how education dollars are
spent, making schools responsive to parents and students
curriculum demands, creating competition among schools, expanding
the range of educational alternatives, relating education spending
to measurable results, freeing principals and teachers to innovate
to serve student's unique needs, and reducing the burden of public
capital expenditures to keep up with population growth.
Section 3. As used in this
act: (1) Public School means government schools controlled by a
publicly elected school board. (2) Non-Public schools means all
other educational systems. (3) Choice School means a student's
tuition credits are eligible to be applied to its tuition. (4)
Exceptionalities mean the 10 educational exceptionalities
previously defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Section 4. Nothing in this
act shall diminish the district school board's ability to
promulgate rules and regulations for the schools under its charge.
Section 5. Every child
eligible for free or subsidized education shall have his/her
tuition account credited at the school of the parents choosing
subject to the following: (1) The school shall be a government
school, or a Choice School as defined in Section 6. (2) The credit
shall be reduced by days not in attendance.
Section 6. Any school
producing 80% of its students able to pass statewide achievement
tests at a level appropriate to their age and mental capability
will, upon application, be certified a Choice School. There shall
be no withholding of certification for any reason unless it is
directly related to this objective performance criterion. The
state shall not prescribe curriculum.
Section 7. During the
first two years after enactment, the Educational Funding Plan
shall continue to allocate per-student funds using funding
formulas substantially the same as in the current year.
Thereafter, all funding shall be based on successful student
achievement as measured by statewide achievement tests, with no
increases going to schools in the lowest 40% improvement ranking
districtwide. This provision is intended to make it easier for
schools starting at a lower base score to achieve larger
Section 8. The Department
of Education shall maintain revise and administer achievement
testing to a statistically significant and accurate cross section
of students in each school. Tests shall correctly measure skills
necessary for a productive citizenry, and not favor particular
religious beliefs, or ethnic background. Progress of students with
exceptionalities shall be rated on a separate scale that
challenges their full potential, appropriate to their
The Department of Education shall
develop online systems by which parents may obtain competitive
ratings to make well-informed decisions on the types of programs
available, how each school compares to all other schools on
criteria measured uniformly within the state, and how well each
school is meeting its unique objectives. District school boards
and Choice Schools shall aggressively distribute this information
to insure that all parents and students are aware of the competing
educational opportunities available to them.
Section 9. During the
first four years after enactment, students choosing to attend
non-government schools will receive credits worth 80% of their
value at government schools. In the fifth year, the premium for
government schools will expire.
Section 10. If a Choice
School charges less than the maximum credits allowed to a student,
the district school board shall deposit the balance in the state's
College Tuition Plan in that student's name to be used according
to that plan's rules, or to supplement later kindergarten through
grade 12 tuition for that student. These funds shall never be paid
directly to the student.
Section 11. Choice Schools
will submit monthly attendance rolls to the district school board.
The board will credit the account of each bona-fide student at
that school for the amount specified elsewhere in this act. The
state department of education will aggressively audit attendance
rolls and prescribe strict penalties for inaccuracies.
Section 12. A
non-government school operating less than five years shall
maintain a letter of credit or performance bond, equal to 3 months
tuition from Choice students, payable to the district school
board, which shall be forfeit in the event the school fails to
meet performance standards of a Choice School.
Section 13. If any
provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or
circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect
other provisions or applications of the act that can be given
effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this
end the provisions of this act are declared severable.
Section 14. This act shall
take effect July 1, 20xx.
Why draft model reform
legislation with only a small chance of enactment under the
present circumstances? Nobel Laureate in Economics, Milton
Friedman, offered this:
other reason is very different. It is so that if a crisis
requiring or facilitating radical change does arise,
alternatives will be available that have been carefully
developed and fully explored.
...it is worth
discussing radical changes, not in the expectation that they
will be adopted promptly but for two other reasons. One is to
construct an ideal goal, so that incremental changes can be
judged by whether they move the institutional structure toward
or away from that ideal.
You are welcome to use the
preceding model legislation as a pattern for your state. Specially
crafted to avoid complicated language and legalisms, it follows
the principles in Advanced
School Choice Without Vouchers.
If you choose to endorse this legislation and eMail written
permission, we will include your link on a forthcoming endorsement
page. Be sure to include any associated group name, your position,
and an eMail address we can use to confirm.
This article brought to you by 4Choice,
dedicated to School Choice without
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