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December 2012 Policy Study, Number 12-13


Education Savings Account:

A Path to Give All Children an Effective Education and Prepare Them for Life


Additional Considerations



Policymakers must be prepared to give parents flexibility with the accounts — even beyond the classroom — while still holding parents accountable for how funds are spent.


• For funds that are unused by the time a child graduates from college, parents should be allowed to roll the money into a retirement savings plan or a health savings account for the (now) young adult.


• While students are enrolled in a savings account, policymakers should enact provisions that require parents to have students tested at regular intervals using an assessment of choice. Parents should be afforded the opportunity to choose the test and report the results to the state. State officials should maintain a database of student test scores and should make the results publicly available while protecting student privacy. State officials should report changes to test scores over time in addition to reporting changes to average scores.


• This requirement has two primary benefits for children, parents, and policymakers: First, policymakers will be able to monitor the accounts’ effectiveness. Lawmakers must hold accountable the schools or the learning programs that post consistently low achievement scores. Second, parents and taxpayers should know if their tax money is benefiting students, and test results should be used as a leading indicator.


• As in Arizona, other states should include provisions to distinguish homeschooling families that are not using savings accounts from those that are using the accounts. This way, families that homeschool using only their own money will not be required to take assessments and report the results to the state. Many homeschool laws around the country were designed so that homeschool students would not be required to take state tests, and this freedom should be preserved as states adopt education savings accounts. For families that choose to homeschool and not use an account, savings account laws that do not apply to them should not interfere with their home-school program.



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