U.S. House Ways & Means Committee to hold hearing featuring Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA) today establishing federal tax credit to fund scholarships for school choice, private tutoring, other education services.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 24, 2023) – The U.S. House Ways & Means Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on Educational Freedom and Opportunity for American Families, Students, and Workers today featuring the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA) (H.R.531), sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), which would enact a federal tax credit for donations to K-12 non-profit scholarship granting organizations to enable up to two million students access a school or education service of their parents’ choice.
Scholarships would be funded with private donations, not federal money, and individual and business donors receive a tax credit on their federal income tax liability. Students could use scholarships for tuition, tutoring to address learning loss, special needs services, or education technology. The legislation has more than 120 House co-sponsors and more than two dozen Senate co-sponsors.
“Empowering parents by increasing access to high-quality education gives students the best chance to succeed. My bill, H.R. 531, would expand educational opportunity for families in every part of the country – urban, suburban, and rural. Every child deserves a chance to succeed no matter their ZIP code or socioeconomic status, and I look forward to growing support for the Educational Choice for Children Act,” stated Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) who is the House sponsor for the ECCA legislation.
Recent polls show school choice gaining across-the-board voter support. A survey by RealClear Opinion Research this summer found school choice overall had 71% support to 13% opposed with an overwhelming majority of Republican (80%), Democrat (66%) and Independent (69%) voters supporting school choice. A YouGov survey last month found 80 percent of U.S. parents support education tax credits, indicating that giving families access to tax credits would improve the nation’s education system.
In written testimony submitted before the hearing, several witnesses scheduled to testify advocated for passage of the federal school choice tax credit to give parents to ensure their child receives the best education.
Hera Varmah, one of eleven children in her family, struggled in math and science in middle school and said in testimony that Florida’s tax-credit scholarship provided her with more individualized education that helped her get into college and graduate.
“Without my parents being blessed with the choice of which school to send us to, we would not be where we are today. Nine out of the twelve received and benefited from the Florida tax-credit scholarship. So, when people say that school choice doesn’t work, I simply show them my family,” stated Varmah.
Sharon Sedlar, who founded the Pennsylvania Families for Education Choice after successfully securing school choice for her child said every parent in the U.S. should have more options to decide what is best for their children.
“I am sharing my story because school choice saved my daughter’s life. No parent wants to see their child struggling, but that’s exactly what happened to me… It is time to put power and increased resources into parents’ hands to serve each unique student’s needs most appropriately,” stated Sedlar.
Corey DeAngelis, Ph.D. who is a Senior Fellow for the American Federation for Children and a Visiting Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, said the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA) would “supercharge the parental empowerment already being unleashed at the state level.”
“Choice is the norm with higher education, pre-K, and just about any other industry. But choice threatens an entrenched special interest only when it comes to K-12 education, so, of course, they fight as hard as possible against any change to the status quo,” said DeAngelis.
Anthony de Nicola, who is Chairman of the Invest in Education Coalition which has been the lead advocate for the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA) thanked the committee for highlighting the power of school choice at the hearing.
“We applaud Chairman Jason Smith and ECCA sponsor, Rep. Adrian Smith, for their leadership and commitment to empowering parents and prioritizing what is best for students. Every parent should have the opportunity to choose a school that meets their children’s needs and sets them up for success whether it’s public, private, or charter. This legislation (ECCA) would help up to two million students access a school or education service of their parents’ choice and scholarships would be funded with private donations, not federal money,” said Anthony de Nicola, Chairman of the Invest in Education Coalition.
Several Members of Congress have been advocating for the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA):
House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (NY-21): “This Educational Choice for Children Act is a fulfillment of House Republicans Commitment to America, putting students first and expanding parental choice so students can receive the education their parents know is best.”
Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman, Dr. Virginia Foxx (R-NC): “For millions of students and families across our nation, exercising choice in education means having the ability to open doors – that would have otherwise remained shut – and venture down pathways to prosperity. H.R. 531 (ECCA) serves as a conduit through which these opportunities can be achieved.”
Congressman Burgess Owens (UT-04): “This legislation gives a win-win and this approach an all-in in this process. A win for the parent and participant and particularly the poor minorities to see their child reach their potential. I look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the House to give these options of H.R. 531 to parents and children throughout our country.”
Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (IA-02): “Parents should be able to send their children to the school that best fits their educational needs, regardless of income or zip code. The Educational Choice for Children Act puts students first and empowers parents to make the right choices for their family, rather than the government.”
About Invest in Education Coalition
Invest in Education Coalition is a 501(c)(4) organization that advocates at the federal level for legislation that will directly empower K-12 parents throughout the nation to choose the best school or education service for their children. Invest in Education Coalition is the only national organization exclusively dedicated to advancing school choice at the federal level, working to make this goal a reality for children in all 50 states. We believe that K-12 parents should have the power to choose the best educational options for their own children. Simply put, parents should decide where their child’s education dollars are spent. To learn more, please visit investineducation.org
For more information on the Educational Choice for Children Act (ECCA), please click here