Blackburn, Cassidy, Smith, Colleagues Introduce Bicameral Bill to Expand School Choice and Educational Opportunity
January 27, 2023
This National School Choice Week, U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) along with Congressman Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) introduced the Educational Choice for Children Act, bicameral legislation to expand education freedom and opportunity for students. Specifically, it provides 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.
“Our children and their families deserve access to the education of their choosing, regardless of zip code. I’m pleased to join this legislation to provide students and their families with the financial resources to choose schools and programs that best fit their needs,” said Senator Blackburn.
“Parents deserve the right to make the best educational decision for their child, regardless of income,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill empowers families to pick the school that best fits their children’s needs.”
“This National School Choice Week, the House and Senate have renewed our commitment to parental empowerment and education freedom with this bill,” said Representative Smith. “Parents – not government – should always have the final say in what kind of education their child receives, no matter where they live or their socioeconomic status. The late Rep. Jackie Walorski fought tirelessly for families to have this freedom, and it is an honor to continue her work on this issue. I also thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their work on this important piece of legislation.”
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.
Senate cosponsors include Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Katie Britt (R-Ala.).
House cosponsors include Representatives Burgess Owens (R-Utah), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Rudy Yakym (R-Ind.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.), Rick Allen (R-Ga.), Mike Flood (R-Neb.), Russell Fry (R-S.C.), Erin Houchin (R-Ind.), Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.), Mike Lawler (R-NY-17), Julia Letlow (R-La.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), John Rutherford (R-Fla.), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.).
The Educational Choice for Children Act has received the endorsement of the Invest in Education Coalition, American Federation for Children, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Heritage Action, Home School Legal Defense Association, Agudath Israel, Orthodox Union, Association of Christian Schools International, CAPE, Excel in Education, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Read the text of the bill here.