President Trump’s December 28, 2020 Executive Order confirms that the well-being and the future of America’s children must assume center-stage rather than be the siren song of left-wing teachers unions and progressive bureaucrats who put the financial status of their political allies first.
Federal education programs have wasted trillions of dollars thereby unleashing contractors, lobbyists, and bureaucrats to squander the nation’s education dollars on feckless and ineffective educational programs, while enriching themselves. Bureaucrats and lobbyists have persistently endeavored to squander federal government funds from here to eternity as they prefer to remain oblivious to the real conditions suffered by America’s children.
President Trump’s new Executive Order advances the Trump Administration’s bold plan to strip wasted dollars from the grasp of federal bureaucrats and lobbyists and send those dollars closer to the children who need them. After all, in February 2020, President Trump became the first President to offer a budget that would send dollars back to states, far, faraway, from the federal bureaucrats who have done virtually nothing to help children despite the onset of a pandemic which has further disadvantaged many parents and children.
The President’s December 2020 Executive Order addresses the continuing public health challenges and uncertainties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenges include various state and local efforts to shut down in-person learning for the majority of our more than 56 million elementary and secondary school students. Although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced additional relief for low-income parents by allowing States to use funds available through the Child Care Development Fund to subsidize child care services and services supplementing academic instruction for children under the age of 13 who are participating in virtual instruction, it is clear that more assistance is sorely needed.
Accordingly, the President’s Order ensures that the HHS takes additional steps, in order to allow funds, made available through the Community Services Block Grant program, to be used by grantees and eligible entities to provide necessary help.
These funds will provide emergency learning scholarships to disadvantaged families to be used by any child without access to in-person learning. These educational scholarships may be used to provide: (1) tuition and fees for a private or parochial school as a form of school choice; (2) alleviate the costs incurred via homeschooling, micro-schooling, and learning-pods; (3) special education and related services including necessary therapies or (4) tutoring or remedial education.
In opening up federal dollars for private school vouchers amid the pandemic after the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill excluded many of the school choice provisions that his Administration had sought, President Trump, once again, puts America’s children first. These moves also help hold public schools accountable by giving parents more opportunities to exercise choice. These moves operate on a parallel track with the ACLJ’s long-term efforts to advance justice by advancing school choice.
This past June 2020, the ACLJ launched an expansive School Choice Initiative in response to school closures and expanded at-home learning brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. This effort is all part of a comprehensive ACLJ initiative to put school choice front and center and help families facing dire educational circumstances. This fall, the ACLJ launched a substantial educational effort as our legal team was contacted by more than 1,700 individual families across 48 states and the District of Columbia.
And the ACLJ listened to families’ specific issues and determined whether we could offer assistance. During the pandemic, many families faced, and continue to face, challenges including lack of adequate equipment – computers, tablets, or even just reliable Internet connectivity – to complete remote learning. Other families faced child-care issues or alternatively they needed assistance finding help for children with specific special needs despite the existence of laws mandating such help. The ACLJ legal team’s guidance assisted parents in obtaining resources they needed or alternatively we advocated on their behalf in the face of the reluctance of state and local authorities to provide assistance, where needed.
It is gratifying to see that the Trump Administration continues to put children first. The ACLJ will vigorously join all efforts that aim at eliminating educational gaps suffered by America’s school children as we are mobilized to fight federal bureaucrats and the progressive Left, as they insist on squandering the nation’s resources and our children’s future.
We encourage everyone who cherishes our children and their future to join our efforts.
As we aggressively engage at the state level, the Supreme Court, and on Capitol Hill for school choice and justice for every child, we need your support.
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