ARLINGTON, Va. — Today, yes. every kid. released a new report outlining an extensive analysis of state laws regarding access to public schools. Policymakers and advocates may find the analysis helpful in seeking to better understand how states can best empower families to customize their child’s learning experience.
Authors of the report, Senior Legislative Analyst Lily Landry and Government Affairs Associate Sam Niederholzer, offered the following statement:
“States should break down barriers to public education and not discriminate against students based on where they live or what type of school they attend for majority of the week. Usually, when we think of public institutions, we think of those which are free to all without regard for race, gender, income, or social status. Public education should be the same way. In empowering all families to have flexible access to public schools, we can further empower them to customize education in any way which best fits their children.”
Landry and Niederholzer examined each state’s statute for policies that allow students to enroll in a public school that they do not attend on a course-by-course basis and scored each on a twelve-factor rubric outlined in the report. Policies were examined to consider the extent of access and the resources available from the public school system to all students in the state.
Of all 50 states, Idaho, Iowa, and Minnesota provide families the most flexible access to their public schools, offering homeschool students, nonpublic students, and even nonresident students access to public school courses, services and extracurricular activities.
Today, only 24 states explicitly outline a policy for nonpublic students to access classes and/or clubs offered by their public schools, while only 15 states make it mandatory for school districts to participate. Ten states treat access to a public school as a right for all students regardless of where they attend school on a full-time basis.
Read the full Public Education Your Way report by yes. every kid.