WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 200,000 children are benefiting from 20 publicly-funded private school choice programs in 12 states and the District of Columbia, according to the School Choice Yearbook 2010-11, released today by the Alliance for School Choice.
Among the findings highlighted in the 66-page Yearbook:
- More than 190,000 students are enrolled in school choice programs in the United States, a growth of nearly 100 percent since 2004-05.
- Seven of the 20 school choice programs in America are specifically tailored to serve children with special needs, benefiting more than 26,000 students.
- Nearly all of America's school choice programs provide assistance primarily to children in low- to middle-income families or to children with special needs.
- Florida is home to the greatest number of students who benefit from school choice, with 54,000 student participants in the state's two existing programs. Two states -- Arizona and Ohio -- have three school choice programs each.
- All 20 school choice programs are non-discriminatory and feature levels of administrative, financial, and/or academic accountability.
- Despite a turbulent economy, no existing programs saw funding cuts in 2010. Two new programs -- one for students with disabilities in Oklahoma and another for students with special needs in Louisiana -- were enacted last year with bipartisan support.
"School choice programs are as strong as they've ever been," said the Yearbook's editor and coauthor Andrew Campanella, a senior communications advisor to the Alliance for School Choice. "With the growth in 2010 and a continued focus on expanding and enacting high quality and sustainable programs around the country, the prospects for even more expansion in 2011 are very, very good."
The Yearbook also features data showing that school choice programs -- which benefit from a rising tide of bipartisan support -- are paying serious academic dividends for students. Specific studies conducted in Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. and Florida last year also showed as much as a 68 percent improvement in standardized test scores for school choice participants, graduation rates more than 20 percent higher than traditional public school students, and almost universal parent satisfaction in some programs.
"We have a societal obligation to make sure that each child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential, and well-designed school choice programs are the key to making that a reality in all corners of this country," said Betsy DeVos, chairman of the Alliance for School Choice. "Tens of thousands of children every day are getting a shot at the better future they deserve because of school choice."
In addition to data and research, the Yearbook, which was coauthored by Alliance staff members Malcom Glenn and Lauren Perry, features stories of several families whose lives have improved as a result of school choice programs.
Download the School Choice Yearbook 2010-11 at www.AllianceForSchoolChoice.org
The Alliance for School Choice is a leading national organization promoting school choice. For more information, visit www.AllianceForSchoolChoice.org.
SOURCE Alliance for School Choice