In the Face of Pandemic School Closures, It’s Time to Act – It’s Time for School Choice Now
Every child in America, regardless of the zip code in which they reside, should have access to a quality education. Unfortunately, countless American children are currently trapped in failing schools. That is why we at the ACLJ have long-supported providing parents with a choice in where to send their children to school.
Now, as school districts across America struggle to provide education options during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with the reality that even more children will be denied access to a quality education. This situation makes it more important than ever that parents be provided choice and flexibility as they work to ensure their children’s needs are met.
Sen. Tim Scott (SC) has introduced the School Choice Now Act, which would be a tremendous boost to this goal. If enacted, Sen. Scott’s legislation would allocate 10% of all upcoming COVID-related education spending toward school-choice programs. Specifically, the bill would appropriate these funds to states, who would in turn provide the funding to scholarship-granting organizations. These organizations would then provide scholarships to students to use for the schooling option of their choice.
This legislation would provide real choice. It could include homeschool. It could include private schools. It could include charter schools. It could include religious schools. In fact, the language in the bill would specifically prohibit states from blocking funds from going to these various avenues for school choice.
In addition, the legislation would provide tax credits for individuals who make donations to the scholarship-granting organizations, thus leveraging the impact of the federal dollars while preserving the important authority of the states and localities over education.
The timing of this legislation is especially important, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has begun unveiling his proposal for the next round of COVID-related stimulus. The way to accomplish the objectives in Sen. Scott’s bill is to include the bill’s proposals within the framework of the stimulus package. If the federal government is going to provide funding to states to provide creative solutions during these trying times, it must do so in a way that enables states to give parents more control and flexibility over their children’s education.
The ACLJ will continue to advocate for school choice, and for greater options for parents of students. To stand with us and demand that every child have equal access to education, sign our petition.