State Policy Network

Solutions for States: Education Reform

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  • 6 Education Reforms
  • Polling Reveals Parents’ Attitudes
  • Education Reform Resources
State-Based Education Reforms: Resources to empower parents by increasing education options

It has been nearly two years since the coronavirus upended our education system and sent millions of children home for remote learning. The extended time out of the classroom and haphazard nature of school closures and opening decisions have put a spotlight on America's education system.

A great country should have great schools. We can do better.

Six State Solutions to Empower Parents

The pandemic has given states the opportunity to increase parental choice and experiment with student-focused solutions. The education reforms below are not intended to replace traditional public schools, but rather to compliment them. Education choice is the only way to successfully empower parents and enable students from every socioeconomic background to thrive.

Learning Pods

Made up of a small group of children, learning pods, also known as education pods or “pandemic pods,” provide the in-person learning experience and socialization that many children need to thrive. Because the burden of teaching or hiring an instructor is spread across several families, learning pods give parents the flexibility to continue working and caring for other family members without sacrificing their children’s education.

Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)

ESAs are state-supervised funds that can be used to pay for a wide variety of education options. Instead of being limited to the school in their geographic region, ESAs enable parents to afford the educational services their child may benefit from most—whether it’s attending a private school, receiving tutoring or speech therapy, online instruction, and more.

School Vouchers

School voucher programs give parents more options by increasing the number of schools available for their child. Parents can apply the funds designated for their children’s education towards tuition at the private school of their choosing.

Education Tax Credits

Education tax credits allow families to deduct education costs directly from their tax bill. Donors can also deduct costs from their tax bill when they give to certain education organizations. Originally established to help with the costs of attending college, some states are allowing parents to use 529 plans for K-12 tuition costs, in addition to college expenses.

Public Charter Schools

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that are open to all students. Because charter schools have greater flexibility in curriculum and approach than traditional public schools, they are able offer personalized learning and different approaches to meet students’ specific needs.


Microschools are private organizations that offer teachers for hire to small groups of students who meet in a home setting or in a community center. Microschools offer students smaller class sizes, flexibility in class schedules, and more personalized instruction.

Students all over the United States are benefitting from having these additional education options, but unfortunately, excessive regulations mean these education choices are not available in every state.

Polling Reveals Parents' Attitudes Towards School Choice

Recent polls show parents support additional education options and feel like the emphasis should be on students' needs rather than schools.

Additional polling:

Education Reform Resources

SPN Protecting Learning Pods Guide

Protecting learning pods: A 50-state guide to regulations threatening the latest education innovation

During the coronavirus pandemic, parents around the country formed learning pods to continue their child’s education while traditional, charter, or private schools were closed. This guide breaks down the state regulations threatening this parent-driven solution and what states can do to protect parents' options.

SPN Education Polling

SPN Polling & Messaging: Education

Gain insights into the latest public opinions on education and explore parent perspectives on school choice and the future of education post-pandemic.

SPN Guide: Education Pod Protection Act

One-pager: Education Pod Protection Act

An overview of the Education Pod Protection Act including key points and provisions.