A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

EdChoice Kentucky report shows significant increase in parents choosing nonpublic school options

EdChoice Kentucky has released a new report showing a significant trend of parents choosing nonpublic school options for their children.

Since 2017, attendance at nonpublic schools in Kentucky has grown by more than 20,000 students.

The report, Ending the Status Quo: Kentucky Parents Increasingly Choose Nonpublic Education Options, was authored by Gary W. Houchens, Ph.D., an education researcher at Western Kentucky University and a member of the EdChoice Kentucky Board of Directors.

“Nearly 100,000 Kentucky students now attend a nonpublic school. This is an historic moment for parental empowerment in education, and policymakers must recognize these trends and ensure that every family has access to the right education for their children,” said Dr. Gary Houchens.

“Helping more students succeed in a nonpublic school not only represents a cost saving to the Commonwealth, but it also helps more of Kentucky’s next generation achieve their full potential.”

According to the report, Kentucky nonpublic school participation increased 8.16% in the 2021-2022 school year alone.

Of Kentucky’s 171 districts, 121 reported increases in nonpublic school participation in 2021-2022.

“Kentucky’s current school choice program under the Education Opportunity Account Act would only provide private school tuition assistance to students in eight counties. Yet, at least 70 counties have traditional nonpublic schools and many serve students in multiple counties. Lawmakers should pass legislation next year to expand eligibility for this important program, which already exists in over 30 states, to make it available for families in all counties,” Dr. Houchens continued.

“These families should not be denied the chance to attend a school that best meets their child’s needs because of a lack of resources.”

Click here to read the full report. 

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