This newly launched comprehensive resource answers most relevant questions and forecasts families’ evolving options over the next three school years.
MIAMI, FL – Starting in the 2023/24 school year, significant changes are arriving to Arkansas’ K–12 school choice options, including open enrollment in traditional public schools, public charter school enrollment caps, and funding for families who want to enroll their children in private schools.
In terms of scale, the biggest change involves Arkansas families’ access to the new Educational Freedom Account Program, which was created by the Arkansas LEARNS Act. As the next evolution of the preexisting Success Scholarships program in the state, these Educational Freedom Accounts (EFAs) will provide flexible funding to families who opt for private schooling options, with eligibility expanding to include more families over the next three years. More details about EFAs and the other types of schools impacted by the LEARNS Act can be found at schoolchoiceweek.com/arkansas-learns-act.
With the new EFA program, Arkansas joins states such as West Virginia, Arizona, Iowa, Florida, and Utah in offering programs—for which nearly all parents in these states are eligible—that establish funded accounts families can use to pay for the private education options of their choice. The number of private school choice programs across the country has grown over the last three decades. This style of program, known as ESAs or EFAs, has seen a recent spike in adoption, with states prioritizing the eligibility of all families.
The rule-making process for this new program will continue through the summer; however, parents can begin to prepare for the 2023/24 school year by addressing the following questions contained in NSCAF’s new guide:
- What is the Arkansas Children’s Educational Freedom Account Program?
- Who can apply for an Educational Freedom Account?
- What learning expenses can families use the program for?
- How will the Educational Freedom Account impact existing state scholarship programs?
- Can homeschoolers participate?
- How does the LEARNS Act impact public school students?
“The LEARNS Act will affect the school choice landscape as soon as this fall, and continue to evolve as it’s rolled out fully over the next three years,” said Shelby Doyle, vice president of public awareness at the National School Choice Awareness Foundation. “We’ve done our homework and are excited to share a jargon-free, comprehensive look at how this affects many types of school choice for many families.”
Additional information and resources for journalists can be found at schoolchoiceweek.com/arkansas-learns-act and locally through The Reform Alliance.
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The National School Choice Awareness Foundation (NSCAF) raises broad and positive awareness of school choice through two charitable programs that involve the organizing of the National School Choice Week each January and the research, development, and promotion of comprehensive and unbiased school navigation resources for parents via School Choice Week and Conoce tus Opciones Escolares. NSCAF does not advocate for or oppose legislation at any level of government and is steadfastly nonpartisan and nonpolitical.