Four innovative school choice bills to help children, especially special needs, foster, and low-income students

Feb 23, 2022

Key Findings:

  1. Four bills would help families find the school that is the best educational fit for their child.

  2. HB 1633 would empower families by providing $10,000 scholarships to pay private school and homeschool expenses for each child.

  3. SB 5205 would fulfill the state’s constitutional duty by giving families $9,000 vouchers to any accredited school for each child.

  4. HB 1215 would promote equity by giving families $7,000 per child for private and homeschool expenses, with 25 percent of funding reserved for special needs, foster and low-income students.

  5. HB 1555 would allow families to choose the best school, rather than the least expensive, by providing $6,250 per child for private or homeschooling expenses.

  6. These bills would provide significant savings to the state budget for schools.

  7. These bills would offer families the resources they need to gain access to the same learning choices more affluent families enjoy, helping to correct this inequitable feature of the education system.

  8. These bills would protect families from having to send their children to failing schools based on zip code.

  9. These bills would end the system of reserving the best education for the rich. 

  10. These bills would introduce an element of competition that would help public schools improve.    


Since March 13, 2020, students have had their academic, athletic and personal lives disrupted by schools closed to in-person learning due to COVID-related shutdowns. Public school leaders have proved unable to adapt. For example, the state superintendent initially blocked districts from switching to online instruction, claiming such instruction fails the test of “equity.” School districts did not use the 2020 summer break to train teachers in online instruction, nor did they find ways to reopen schools safely to in-person instruction that fall.

The traditional public schools remained closed the fall of 2020, providing students only low-quality “remote instruction.” By contrast, private schools and public charter schools safely reopened to in-person learning the fall of 2020.

Traditional public schools stayed closed all through the fall and winter of 2020-21. The teachers union urged that schools stay closed longer, making Washington the 47th state to reopen schools.

Click here to read the Legislative Memo in full.

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