Today, House Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) cosponsored the Educational Choice for Children Act, introduced by Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), which would support parents' right to choose school options that work for their family. Specifically, this legislation would expand education freedom and opportunity for millions of students by providing a charitable donation incentive for individuals and businesses to fund scholarship awards for students to cover expenses related to K-12 public and private education, amounting to $10 billion on an annual basis.
Rep. Walorski introduced the Educational Choice for Children Act alongside Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC), House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN), Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC). U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.
"America's education system must be more responsive to parents. That means more transparency and more respect for the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. It also means providing parents more freedom to choose the best education for their children," said Leader Foxx. "The Educational Choice for Children Act offers families a lifeline so their children can receive an education tailored to meet their own needs. Educational freedom begets opportunity and success for America's children, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make this bill a reality for America's families."
"Our children's education is the key to America's future success. Every child should have the opportunity to live the American Dream--regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic background," said Rep. Walorski. "Offering families school options will help millions of children access the best possible education for them. As we look to our nation's future, this investment will restore power to parents and equip every American child to thrive."
"Giving parents the ability to make decisions over their child's education puts that child's needs first," said Dr. Cassidy. "Our bill provides yet another opportunity to empower parents and allow millions of children to thrive in a school that's best for them."
"Educational choice is a critical way to provide the best opportunities for our students, and this bill will allow families to determine the highest quality and most suitable education for their children," said Chair Stefanik. "Importantly, this legislation can equip students in rural communities with additional supports to supplement their learning in the local school, bringing new opportunities to families that have traditionally lacked educational options. I will continue to empower parents to be able to choose what is best for their children's education, regardless of zip code."
"When parents don't have options, their children suffer, and public schools aren't incentivized to respond to parent's needs. Republicans are pushing our public schools to serve American families and we are committed to ensuring every student can receive a high-quality education," said Chair Banks. "Our tax code should encourage donations that expand children's educational opportunities. More and more families are using public school alternatives, and many would prefer to opt out, but are unable to for financial reasons."
"In America, a child's education should never be determined by their race, income, or zip code. Unfortunately, our country's one-size-fits-all education system leaves far too many students behind," said Rep. Owens. "I am proud to support the Education Choice for Children Act because it expands education freedom, unlocks high-quality opportunities, and helps students across the nation reach their God-given potential."
"Parents should have a greater say in their child's education, and this bill does that," said Rep. Kelly. "Our children make up about 25 percent of the U.S. population, but they are 100 percent of our future. We must give parents and children every opportunity to pursue the education that is best for them and that puts them on the best path forward from day one."
"Expanding education opportunities and freedom for k-12 students is critical to ensuring our children get the best education possible. By creating incentives for individuals and businesses to fund scholarships that help families cover the costs of school-related expenses from tuition to textbooks, we can be confident that students are able to pursue the best educational opportunities around them rather than being held back by personal financial circumstances," said Rep. Baird. "I believe education is one of the greatest gifts we can give future generations of Americans, which is why I am proud to co-sponsor Rep. Walorski's Education Choice for Children Act."
"Education gives every child, no matter the zip code, socioeconomic status, or background, the opportunity to succeed. The last two years have shown us that every student needs to have the ability to choose the best education option to suit their unique circumstances," said Rep. Miller-Meeks. "The Educational Choice for Children Act will increase access to educational opportunities for children across Iowa Second District, especially in our rural communities. I left home at sixteen to find the best education for myself and I am proud to join in introducing this important and commonsense bill to support our students."
The Educational Choice for Children Act:
Provides $10 billion in annual tax credits to be made available to taxpayers. Allotment of these credits to individuals would be administered by the Treasury Department.
A base amount will be set for each state and then the credits are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Uses a limited government approach with respect to federalism, thus avoiding mandates on states, localities, and school districts.
Includes provisions that govern Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), as SGOs are given the ability to determine the individual amount of scholarship awards.
An estimated two million students in any elementary or secondary education setting, including homeschool, are eligible to receive a scholarship. Eligible use of scholarships awards includes tuition, fees, book supplies, and equipment for the enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary school.
The Educational Choice for Children Act has received the endorsement of the Association of Christian Schools International, the Invest in Education Foundation, and the American Federation for Children.