South Carolina Families, Students Closer to Historic Educational Choice

South Carolina Families, Students Closer to Historic Educational Choice

Apr 10, 2017

In a visionary move that would empower South Carolina families and students with the education options that best fit their needs, state policymakers have introduced Senate Bill 622, the Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Account (ESA) Act.

Sponsored by Senate Rules Chair Shane Massey with 10 additional co-sponsors, the legislation would allow eligible families to receive the state funds already allocated for their children’s education in the form of a special account they can use to tailor an education suited to their specific needs.

ESAs have been applauded as an innovative way to bring customization to K-12 education. With an ESA, parents are able to direct education funding for their child to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice, including any combination of private school, textbooks and curriculum for home school, online learning, tutoring, occupational or instructional therapies, testing and other support services, or dual enrollment.

S 622 would provide ESAs to eligible students enrolled in public schools, including children from low-income, military or foster families, children with specific special needs and children who are homeless. To ensure full accountability, the bill requires public reporting of test scores, fiscal impact and expenditure of public funds.

“This is great news for all of South Carolina. When families and students have more educational options, those students are better prepared for success in school, careers and life. We appreciate the leadership of Senator Massey and all policymakers who are fighting every day on behalf of South Carolina students. We look forward to working with state leaders this year and into 2018.” – J. Alex Kelly, ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director 

A broad coalition of partners is supporting the bill, including the Palmetto Promise Institute, the Palmetto Family Council, the My SC Education Coalition, the American Federation for Children, EdChoice, the Goldwater Institute and ExcelinEd in Action.