W⁠i⁠ns ⁠t⁠o da⁠t⁠e: The 2023 leg⁠i⁠sla⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ve sess⁠i⁠ons’ b⁠i⁠gges⁠t⁠ w⁠i⁠ns for empower⁠i⁠ng fam⁠i⁠l⁠i⁠es  

June 28, 2023

June 28, 2023

The movement to empower families remains strong. As many states wrap up their 2023 legislative sessions, the hunger for more policies that directly fund families is as evident as ever. In fact, six states have now passed universal Education Savings Account (ESA) legislation — four this year alone — signaling both a monumental shift in how American education operates and a desire to listen to the voices of educators and families who want expanded learning opportunities for every kid.  

yes. every kid. (Yes) has engaged in 33 states so far during 2023 legislative sessions, working to encourage innovation, end discrimination based on ZIP code and ensure families have the freedom to make decisions that are best for their child. Yes successfully supported a number of statewide efforts to empower families with direct funding to pay for educational expenses like tuition, textbooks and tutoring — because every family deserves the opportunity to customize the educational experience that fits their child’s needs. Amid this strong momentum, here are our 2023 top 5 wins for empowering families to date:  

To kick off 2023, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the monumental Students First Act, putting resources directly in the hands of families. Eligibility to participate will be universal by 2025-26 school year, meaning any Iowa K-12 student — regardless of ZIP code or income level — will have the opportunity to access the educational options that fit their goals and interests. By making the program universal, Iowa leveled the playing field so that truly every family can connect their child with the best education for them. 

The LEARNS Act, signed into law by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, established Arkansas as a national leader in education freedom and transformation. The bill represented a huge step in making public schools truly public (as they should be) by eliminating an arbitrary 3% cap on the number of students who could transfer between school districts, empowering Arkansas families with more options and access to the public school of their choosing, no matter where they live. The LEARNS Act also included universal ESA legislation that puts educational decision-making where it belongs — in the hands of every parent.  

Oklahomans have been working for over a decade to put an end to a one-size-fits-all education model — and they succeeded this year. The Parental Choice Tax Credit Act is an innovative accomplishment and the first universal refundable tax credit in the nation. It empowers families with a $1,000 refundable, personal-use tax credit per child per family who chooses to homeschool and between $5,000-$7,500 (based on income level) for families who choose to send their child to a private or charter school. Every Oklahoma family is now empowered to decide where and how to educate their child, regardless of their income level or ZIP code.  

Florida netted the largest expansion of education freedom in American history when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1. The universal ESA program in America’s third-largest state, supported by the majority of Floridians, empowers the families of over three million students to decide how and where their child is educated. It also removes barriers to learning — providing families the opportunity to reject a one-size-fits-all model and instead customize education to meet their unique needs.  

The Indiana General Assembly’s adoption of the 2023-25 biennial state budget included a major step toward modernizing learning and empowering families. Indiana families are hungry for educational opportunities, and the legislature responded accordingly by enacting the most significant expansion of education freedom programs in the state since those programs have existed in Indiana. This step expanded access to Indiana’s Choice Scholarship program by removing eligibility restrictions and extended the eligibility requirements for the state’s ESA program and School Scholarship Tax Credit program, putting power in the hands of more families.  

This movement isn’t slowing down. Yes is laser-focused on partnering with policy champions to build on these successes to modernize education and establish strong foundations for continued legislative victories. For more updates, follow us on Twitter and check out how we’re making news by clicking here