The federalism path to education freedom

The Teach Coalition Office of Jewish Education Policy and Research released a study last week on enrollment in New York Jewish Day Schools. Enrollment growth has slowed, and after exploring multiple potential causes, they concluded that a primary driver has been Florida attracting young families:

“We therefore conclude that slowing enrollment growth in New York is likely because Jewish families are moving to other states…We cannot definitively answer why Jewish families appear to be leaving New York. However, since 2015 we have observed the highest Jewish kindergarten enrollment growth in states with a combination of lower cost of living, lower tuition costs, and/or government sponsored K-12 scholarships. It therefore seems likely that the high costs of living and Jewish education is driving young families out of New York…Indeed, California – which like New York has cost of living and tuition rates considerably higher than the national average – also saw a decline in Jewish kindergarten enrollment since 2015.”

I suspect this trend is just getting warmed up. I’m aware of reports of families moving to Arizona from California and elsewhere in part to participate in K-12 choice programs. Governors have competed fiercely for companies for decades, but now that competition has trended to include a competition for residents and taxpayers.

The governors of Alabama and Texas have announced their support for taking their states green on the above unofficial “rubusto choice” map. If you are the parent of young children, and you find yourself in a gray state, a readily available solution would be to move to a state that is willing to put you in the education driver’s seat. Life is short; best to take control of it.

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BY Matthew Ladner

Matthew Ladner is executive editor of NextSteps. He has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform, and his articles have appeared in Education Next; the Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice; and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and three children.