The only “innovations” in school vouchers over the last two decades are legal/technical, entirely focused on maintaining private schools’ ability to discriminate and teach anything to kids.

There has been no fundamental change to gap between vouchers and quality school tuition. No improvement for students with special education needs. No protections against radical religious indoctrination. No movement on the underfunding of traditional schools where vouchers are paid for. No improvement on lack of actual options within a reasonable distance of most students’ homes. No meaningful improvement delivering instruction in a non-traditional setting or online such that it becomes a major provider of choice for families.

ESAs and vouchers are not supported on some idea of choice. They are explicitly about supporting religious schools that can teach religious beliefs without limit. They’re about richer, wealthier people who can already afford private schools getting a huge check back from the government to support their opting out of the public system. It’s the richer and wealthier folks who hate taxes and the idea of supporting a public good making sure they get theirs back rather than having sufficient taxes to support the system everyone accesses.

This is entirely distinct from other possible mechanisms of choice, including well-regulated charters and inter district choice. But these mechanisms, which could have (and have had) bipartisan consensus offer the potential to improve school operations and choices for families. That’s solving the wrong problem. They solve the problems choice advocates say they care about, but not the actual interests they serve. Choice is about tax breaks for the rich, excuses to not increase funding for schools, and having state supported religious indoctrination.