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Preserving Private School Autonomy a Key Concern with School Choice

Private schools want to participate in school choice programs to serve needy students, but are wary of regulations related to standards and testing that threaten their autonomy, according to a January 2015 survey from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The concern is not the accountability that test scores bring, but the requiring of certain tests and their effects on school mission and autonomy.

Researchers surveyed 954 private educators in Indiana, Florida and Louisiana. All three states contain both a voucher program and a tax credit scholarship program.

The survey found that private educators get a sense of gratification from helping disadvantaged students. When asked why they want to participate in school choice programs, 71 percent of educators rated helping students in need as “very important.”

However, 44 percent of Florida educators cited future testing requirements as a concern for accepting students enrolled in Florida’s tax credit scholarship program. Fully 54 percent of educators in Indiana voiced concerns about regulations in general. A whopping 77 percent of Louisiana private educators expressed some degree of concern about testing requirements.

Both the 2014 Voucher Rankings & Tax Credit Scholarship Rankings from The Center for Education Reform cite “Preservation of Private School Autonomy” as a determinant for how state programs measures up.

Curious which other states have school choice programs? Check out The Parent Power Index to see how states stack up when it comes to giving parents fundamental power over their children’s education.