At NextStudios, we’re inspired by EdChoice’s school choice initiative. As a venture studio designed and operated by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, and with entrepreneurs, we’re looking forward to working with the next wave of learners-turned-leaders. In this blog, we’re taking a look at EdChoice and how it’s impacting education and entrepreneurship.
Everybody learns differently. Some learners respond well to old-fashioned “book learning,” while others need kinesthetic or project-based learning opportunities to excel. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, individual learners are being under-served by an educational system that reduces all of the nuances of learning and student empowerment to a matter of mere geography, attending the public school district closest to their address.
Simply put, there’s something very wrong with this picture. In our modern age, it seems like we should be able to better-serve the next generation of learners and leaders, with more modern and equitable solutions.
Founded in 1996, EdChoice is an education reform organization based out of Indianapolis, Indiana. Their mission is to advance school choice for all children nationwide. To further this mission, EdChoice works closely with nonprofit organizations, schools, community organizations, businesses, parents, teachers, and citizens.
The Wall Street Journal has called EdChoice “the nation’s leading advocate of vouchers,” but what, exactly, does that mean? Is EdChoice political?
Actually, no. EdChoice, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is nonpartisan. They’re simply committed to understanding and pursuing a K–12 education system that empowers every family to choose the schooling environment that fits their children’s needs best.
School choice allows public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs —whether that’s to a public school, private school, charter school, home school, or any other learning environment families choose. With that in mind, the work EdChoice undertakes falls under three main pillars:
- Research and thought leadership: Publishing reports on the state and national level, including original empirical research, surveys, voter polls, syntheses and more. Read more about EdChoice’s research and thought leadership here.
- Training and outreach: Training and equipping policymakers, advocates and parents with everything they need to advance educational choice for all families. Read more about EdChoice’s training and outreach functions here.
- Focused state investment: On the ground supporting coalitions in key states that are driving high-quality educational choice. Read more about focused state investment here.
What Does EdChoice Mean for Education?
In the simplest terms, EdChoice means empowerment through school choice. And it means working tirelessly to influence policies that enable greater school choice.
It provides parents with the freedom to make choices about where and how their children will receive their education. Rather than being limited to a particular, geography-based school district, EdChoice widens the span of school choice-enabling options to include the following:
Types of private school choice
- Education savings accounts (ESAS)
- School vouchers
- Tax-credit education savings accounts (ESAS)
- Tax-credit scholarships
- Individual tax credits & deductions
Other types of school choice
- Charter schools
- Magnet schools
- Inter/Intra-district public school choice
- Hybrid homeschooling
- Online learning
- Town tuitioning
- Personalized learning & learning pods
Learn more about these specific types of school choice here.
How Does EdChoice Affect Public School Students?
While some concerns have been expressed about potential negative impacts school choice might have on public school students, they’re based on misconceptions. There’s actually very little research that supports the allegation that school choice harms students who stay in their public schools. Ultimately, EdChoice simply aims to help parents of all children—of any income, from any neighborhood—make informed decisions about how and where a student might receive the best education for them.
What Does EdChoice Mean for Entrepreneurs?
This could be that the population of entrepreneurs *should* start to skew more inclusive/diversely. Equitable access to quality education and skills development is a significant first step toward making the American dream a little more attainable for a greater portion of the population—as it should be. This, then, helps to ensure that diverse learners all have fair access to the educational systems and opportunities that will best prepare them to become future leaders.
Learn More About EdChoice
For more insight about the work EdChoice does, and what makes it so transformative, we highly recommend this recent Medium article written by Kristen Smith, a former educator, entrepreneur, and a 2021 National Voices Fellow at 50CAN. She outlines how school choice can play a pivotal role in “creating real equity within communities of color” by addressing the barriers that are preventing too many students from equitable access to high-quality learning.
To learn more about EdChoice and its impact on education and entrepreneurship, we suggest starting with this rundown of the 25 Most Significant School Choice Research Findings, or EdChoice’s School Choice FAQs.
As the first Benefits (B) Corporation venture studio in Indiana, NextStudios provides an alternative to the traditional system. As such, we hold ourselves accountable to both financial success as a business, while supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem of our community. Learn more about what we do here.