Legislatures around the country have enacted various forms of school choice with the intent of improving student achievement throughout the education system, seeking innovative methods of instruction and school governance, and providing parents with an alternative to neighborhood schools.
While many public school choice options can be considered by states—including open enrollment policies and magnet schools—the most prominent public school choice policy is charter schools. 42 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation permitting charter schools, which operate outside the traditional school governance structure and exercise a high level of autonomy in exchange for more stringent accountability.
In addition to public school choice programs such as charter schools, 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted school choice programs that provide support and incentives for parents to choose private schools in place of public schools. Options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, and personal tax credits and deductions.