Choice in education; where does legislation stand after the pandemic?

Jan 12, 2023, 2:00 PM
education legislation...
Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — The COVID-19 pandemic required a shift in education and its accessibility. Now, post-pandemic-peak, parents are considering different education options and questions of education legislation are being raised. 

The educational changes that came from COVID-19 

Christine Cookes Fairbanks, a fellow at the Sutherland Institute covering education policy, told KSL NewsRadio that the pandemic changed many things about education. First and foremost, the pandemic changed the relationship between students and their parents.

Further, charter school enrollment increased significantly. The number of parents who reported themselves as homeschooling more than doubled nationally and in Utah. 

More specifically, the number of Black families homeschooling their children grew five times. 

After seeing stagnant and at times declining numbers, private school enrollment is also increasing. 

According to Fairbanks, there is an education survey that shows a majority of U.S. parents support both education choice as well as increased funding for public schools and teacher raises. 

“Public policy is now taking their lead,” Fairbanks told Inside Sources host, Boyd Matheson.

Fairbanks hopes to see Utah policymakers increase education opportunities with public support and public funds in a fashion similar to Arizona’s universal education saving account.

Contextually, this gives parents the money to spend on a wide range of educational services. Such as curriculum for home education or private school tuition, and fees for exams. It could also look like a child with autism receiving funding for speech or occupational training. 

Passing education legislation

Currently, about 18 states have passed legislation to expand this idea according to Fairbanks.

“It really opens those opportunities up for parents,” she said. “I think the pandemic shifted the conversation everywhere.”

The Utah Legislature did not pass a savings account policy during its last session. However, the conversation has not gone away. 

“It is important to also recognize there is public opinion that people are supportive of both education choice and teacher raises,” said Fairbanks. “I think people are ready to invest in education and innovate in education and unite different policies that have sometimes been on separate or opposing ends of the spectrum.”

Fairbanks has observed Arizona’s education efforts and sees the benefits. “As soon as this website went live they had almost a crash in the website because so many people were trying to apply,” she said.

Overall, Fairbanks said she feels that, regardless of the difference in education choices per state, the lesson is that the demand for choice in education is there. 

Related reading

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

A hiring sign is displayed in the window of a Panera Bread store in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, ...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN

Jobs report to give further clues about where economy is headed

Economists predict that 185,000 jobs were added last month, a slowdown from the gain of 223,000 jobs in December and 263,000 in November.
23 hours ago
File**People walk past the entrance to a Bed Bath & Beyond retail store along Sixth Avenue in N...
Paul R. La Monica and Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN

Bed Bath & Beyond says it can no longer pay its debts

The end could be near for struggling retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, as it warned in a regulatory filing Thursday that it received a notice of default from its lender, JPMorgan Chase.
3 days ago
With 24 other states on board, the Utah Attorney General announced on Friday a lawsuit against a De...
Simone Seikaly

Utah leading a lawsuit against new ESG rule affecting 401(k) plans

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the states in the lawsuit are concerned about the federal government's promotion of ESG investing.
3 days ago
savings system right on the money...
Mark Jones

Economists are worried of a recession in 2023, financial expert weighs in

Many economists are fearing a recession in 2023 despite the U.S. economy ending last year better than expected.
4 days ago
A new service called Cottonwood Connect could address parking problems at the ski resorts in Big an...
Kate Davis and Simone Seikaly

Cottonwood Connect offers a new way to get up Cottonwood Canyons

The goal is to fill gaps left when UTA limited ski bus service. The shuttle will run Thursday through Sunday through mid-April.
4 days ago
The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with mom...
PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

Most economists think the economy will slow further in the current quarter and slide into at least a mild recession by midyear.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Choice in education; where does legislation stand after the pandemic?