by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an unprecedented school choice bill called the Students First Act on Tuesday, allowing any Iowa student to use public money to pay for private school tuition or other expenses.
“For the first time, we will fund students not systems!” Reynolds said on Twitter.
“Parents, not the government, can now choose the education setting best suited to their child regardless of their income or zip code. Iowa has affirmed that educational freedom belongs to all!”
After the Students First Act was passed, Iowa is now the third state to pass a school choice measure that expands to every student in the state.
“This is one of the best vehicles for providing families with more options, since parents can use the ESAs (education savings accounts) for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, special-needs therapy and more. We’ve already seen success from ESAs in Arizona,” Jason Bedrick, a research fellow in the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital.
“Although Iowa is the third state to pass universal school choice, it is the state with the heaviest foot on the accelerator. Although Arizona was the first state to pass school choice for all families last year, their program had been around for over a decade. Gov. Reynolds just signed into law a program that includes most families in its first year and automatically expands to all families after two years,” American Federation for Children Senior Fellow Corey DeAngelis told Fox News Digital.
The latest example of a significant passing of school choice legislation happened in Arizona under former Gov. Doug Ducey, who signed the most “monumental” education savings account program in the United States.
Arizona became the first state in the nation to pass education scholarship accounts, expanding the program to all 1.1 million K-12 students in the state. Other red states followed suit in pushing school choice legislation.