Arkansas Becomes Number Three

Written by: Dr. John McLaughlin

On March 8, 2023, Arkansas became the third state to enact a universal voucher for its students. It joins Arizona and Iowa in granting parents over $7,000 a year to pay for attendance at the school they feel will be best for their child.

Last month, the American Enterprise Institute noted that perhaps seven states will approve universal vouchers during their legislative sessions this winter and spring. Almost 20 states currently offer some form of voucher for students with special needs. Special needs vouchers were initiated in 1999 in Florida and that state is now considering a universal voucher.

Choice is becoming a platform in public education alongside of excellence, equity, and access. It is an effort that dates back to the 1950s and one that has gained too much momentum to be denied. The movement illustrates a shift from a focus on public education to a focus on the education of the public.

Dr. John McLaughlin is co-founder of Galileo Preparatory Academy. As a tenured professor at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota (1988–1998), John researched the rise of education as an invest-able industry. John wrote the first Galileo Education business plan in 1999 with a vision that customized learning was possible. Prior to his career, John attended Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, The University of Chicago, and the University of Minnesota where he received BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees respectively. He is frequently sought out for his thoughts on the intersection of capital markets and education, has authored three related books, dozens of articles, and continues an active writing agenda.

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