Sora Schools

Trends in Education • 2024

Trend 04


The Expansion of
School Choice

and ESAs

2024 marks a pivotal year in the realm of educational freedom, with a growing number of states embracing universal Education Savings Account (ESA) programs, following the successful models established by Arizona and Florida. This trend means that more families can choose from a wider array of public and private school options for their children, granting them the flexibility to allocate state education funds across a diverse array of educational services including private schools, online learning programs, and specialized tutoring. The expansion of ESA funding reflects a move toward more customized and diverse educational options for families and a more flexible and individualized allocation of public education spending.

Here are the results of what factors families consider important when choosing an educational option for their child.


Emphasis on individual needs and learning styles


Innovative teaching methods


Small class sizes


Safe and secure learning environment


Specialized learning programs


Diverse and inclusive student body


Strong focus on academic rigor and discipline

Source: Sora Schools Survey, 2024

ESAs are reshaping the traditional educational landscape, recognizing that the one-size-fits-all model of public education is increasingly obsolete in meeting the varied needs of individual students. Personalized ESA funding allows families to tailor their children’s education to align with specific learning styles, interests, values, and requirements. Families can select from several in-person and virtual options, allowing students to attend the best-fit school for them.

The mega trend of [school] choice is wildly important to us. All these shifts create opportunities for companies providing solutions that allow parents and communities to take more control of the learning.

Michael Moe, founder of GSV, a venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley that has backed companies such as ClassDojo and Coursera

As we venture further into 2024, the expansion of school choice and ESAs will likely continue to be a hot-button issue in education policy. Since the onset of the charter and voucher movements, policymakers and advocates on all sides have debated the impact of programs on the educational ecosystem, not only for those who make use of the programs but also for those who do not. But there can be no doubt that the trend in allocating public funds for school choice has grown and continues to broaden.  

This trend is not just about providing more options; it's also a shift in how we perceive and approach education funding and delivery. It reflects a growing recognition of the need for a more adaptive, responsive, and personalized educational system, one that empowers parents to make decisions best suited to their children's unique educational needs. The evolution of school choice and the rise of ESAs are set to reshape the educational landscape. This trend will offer new possibilities and challenges in the quest for a more tailored and effective educational experience for every student.

Uncharted Waters

However, this shift toward greater parental control and choice in education is not without its challenges and controversies. As ESAs gain momentum, they are becoming a central topic in political discourse, with debates and discussions around the implications of such programs on public education systems, equity, and quality standards. Proponents argue that ESAs promote competition, drive innovation, and elevate overall educational standards by providing alternatives to traditional public schools. Critics, however, express concerns about the potential impact on public school funding and the equitable distribution of educational resources.

Choice, flexibility, and personalization is at the core of Sora’s identity and philosophy. We are thrilled and fully supportive of policy changes that empower families and students, placing them in control of their educational journey.

Garrett Smiley, CEO, Sora Schools

Our view at Sora

Many Sora families have leveraged ESAs and chose Sora instead of other options. This has given them flexibility and choice to have access to a world-class education for their children which is innovative and personalized for their needs. We believe that more and more families will benefit from ESA funds and gravitate toward educational choices like Sora that suit their lifestyle and are personalized to their children's interests and needs.

We also welcome and seek partnerships with other schools and organizations to build a stronger and more relevant approach to education in the United States and beyond. Our goal is to demonstrate what is possible when school becomes an experience and not a place. ESA funds are a welcome opportunity to ensure that all families have access to an education like the one we provide at Sora.