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School Choice’s Window of Opportunity

In his essay “Opening Doors for School Choice,” Rick Hess has offered characteristically sage and sober advice to advocates of school choice. In the midst of the movement’s most successful year ever—five states have enacted universal education savings accounts or ESA-style policies so far, in addition to several more new or expanded choice policies—Hess urges advocates to leverage their momentum prudently.

The window of opportunity for school choice is still open, but who knows for how long? To take full advantage before the window closes, Hess advises advocates to focus on how school choice solves problems for parents; to pay attention to the details of how choice policies work for families and educators, from transportation to barriers to entry; to explain how choice policies better serve the public interest; and to ensure that choice policies serve all families, not just the worst off.

However, it is worth elaborating on a point Hess made in passing that holds the key to this recent progress. In explaining why parents embraced school-choice policies in the wake of ...