Yes advances education freedom in 33 states
CHICAGO — yes. every kid. (Yes) was awarded the Network Award for expanding universal education freedom legislation in 2023. The award — honoring this year’s extensive education progress — was presented by the State Policy Network (SPN) at its Celebration of Success awards dinner during its 31st annual meeting.
Yes worked with lawmakers to advance several statewide efforts to empower families with direct funding to pay for educational expenses and six states passed universal education freedom legislation in 2023, including:
- Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the Students First Act, putting resources directly in the hands of families. Eligibility will be universal by the 2025-26 school year, meaning every Iowa K-12 student — regardless of income level or ZIP code — will have the opportunity to access the education that best meets their needs.
- Arkansas — The LEARNS Act, signed into law by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, established Arkansas as a national leader in education freedom. It included universal Education Savings Account legislation that puts educational decision-making in the hands of every Arkansas family.
- Florida — The biggest expansion of education freedom in history happened in Florida this year when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 1, empowering the families of over three million students to decide how and where their child is educated.
- Utah — The Utah Fits All Scholarship Program, signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox, gives every family in Utah access to direct funding to pay for educational expenses. This puts power where it belongs: in the hands of families.
- Oklahoma — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the Parental Choice Tax Credit Act, empowering all families with a refundable personal-use tax credit — a critical tool that helps remove barriers to learning and modernizes the educational experience for students.
- Ohio — By expanding the state’s EdChoice Scholarship program, Ohio put power in the hands of all families in the state to choose the educational opportunities that best fit the unique needs and learning styles of their child. This legislation, signed by Gov. Mike DeWine, broadened eligibility from students who attend chronically low-performing public schools to all students in the state.
Those states expanded opportunities for every family — regardless of zip code or income level. Yes engaged in 33 states during 2023 legislative sessions, working to encourage innovation, end ZIP code-based discrimination and ensure families have the freedom to make decisions that are best for their kids.
“This award recognizes the tremendous momentum of universal education freedom legislation,” said Craig Hulse, executive director of Yes. “There is clearly a hunger for policies where every single family is empowered to connect their child with the education that best meets their unique needs. We’re honored to receive this award and honored to continue the hard work alongside our partners in making sure every kid can flourish and achieve their potential.”
SPN provides support to the nonprofit think tanks that anchor the work toward expanding freedom at the state and local level. Its yearly awards celebrate the state think tanks, allied organizations, and leaders who are pioneering new solutions toward lasting social change, freedom and opportunity at the state and local level.
About yes. every kid.
yes. every kid. supports policies that respect the dignity of every student, welcome innovative ideas and foster a diversity of approaches to learning. yes. every kid. will support and build coalitions to advance new conversations and bold visions by bringing together differing voices and perspectives to revolutionize the K-12 education experience.