podcastED: SUFS president Doug Tuthill interviews EdChoice director on how families use education savings accounts

On this episode, Tuthill talks with Marty Leuken, co-author of a new study on the spending habits of families that use Florida’s education savings account program for students with unique abilities.

Leuken’s research shows that the longer families participate in the program, the greater they diversify their spending on items such as curriculum, specialized services, and tutoring. Leuken and Tuthill also discuss another report finding: the benefit of ESAs on rural communities, and the fact that families in those communities are more likely to use their funding in flexible ways than families in urban areas.

“A lot of rural legislators are saying they oppose ESAs because they do not think rural families will benefit. And this research shows the opposite: In rural communities, there’s a tremendous appetite to diversify and customize education, and ESA funds allow those families to do that … There’s a narrative going on around the country that’s inconsistent with the data.”

EPISODE DETAILS:

  • Study methodology examining education savings account spending between 2014 and 2018
  • Comparison of Florida families’ spending to Arizona families who used the nation’s original education savings account program
  • Dispelling the myth that education savings account programs are harmful to rural community school districts
  • Ideas for strengthening education savings account programs and providing more and better information to families