WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Educational Choice for Children Act. The legislation expands 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. U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) introduced the legislation in the House of Representatives.
“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.”
“I’ve always said that when you give parents a choice, you give kids a better chance at achieving their dreams,” said Senator Scott. “By empowering families with more education resources, this bill could change the lives of millions of high-potential students who deserve every opportunity to succeed.”
“Montana students deserve every chance to succeed – an integral part of that success is being enrolled in an education program that’s right for them. With the right resources, there is no limit to what Montana students can achieve. I’m glad to support this legislation which will help ensure Montana parents and students have the freedom and opportunity to choose the education that best suits their needs,” said Senator Daines.
“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.”
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 Invest in Education Foundation, Association of Christian Schools International, the Defense Freedom Institute, the American Federation for Children, and Agudath Israel of America.
“No child should be forced to go to a failing or unsafe school, and every parent should have a chance to shape their child’s future. When this bill becomes law, that dream will become a reality for more than a million American families,” said Luke Messer, the President of nonprofit Invest in Education. “America’s parents are grateful for the leadership of Senator Cassidy, Senator Scott, Senator Daines, and Senator Young on this important issue! Make no mistake about it, this bill is a real game changer.”
“Parents across America are demanding more school options for their kids, and we’re grateful to Sen. Cassidy and Rep. Walorski for answering their call. Congress must now overcome the unions’ demands that children remain hostage to their zoned district school. The Educational Choice for Children Act is a critical next step toward education freedom for families and teachers,” said Jim Blew of the Defense of Freedom Institute and Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education.
“We are grateful for Senator Cassidy and the other bold lawmakers putting forward this legislation. It truly has the power to deliver transformational change and opportunity to more than one million children across America. The Educational Choice for Children Act will complement existing school choice offerings in states and advance new and needed opportunities around the country. Importantly, these innovative scholarships will also help with critical learning loss, special needs services, and career and technical education. We commend Senator Cassidy’s leadership and willingness to fight for families and freedom in education,” said Tommy Schultz, CEO of the American Federation for Children.
“We encourage lawmakers, Republican and Democratic, to put a bipartisan stamp on the common-sense policy that is at the heart of this bill: assisting parents to access the learning environment and the educational benefits that are best suited for their children, and that will enhance educational achievement for all of America’s students. We call for its favorable consideration and passage by both House and Senate,” said Rabbi Abba Cohen, Vice President of Government Affairs and Washington Director of Agudath Israel of America.
Cassidy recently urged the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules redefining the Charter School Program, stripping parents of their ability to choose the best school for their child. Earlier this year, Cassidy introduced the Kids in Classes Act to allow families with children in Title I schools to put unused federal education funds toward in-person education, should their school close to COVID-19 or a teachers union goes on strike.