Owens, Smith, and Cassidy Introduce Bill to Expand School Choice & Educational Opportunity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Educational Choice for Children Act, bicameral legislation to expand education freedom and opportunity for students. Specifically, the bill 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. 

“In America, a child’s race, income, or zip code should never determine the quality of their education,” said Rep. Owens. “School choice works because it puts students over systems and empowers parents to choose the academic options that best fit their child’s unique needs. I am proud to reintroduce the Educational Choice for Children Act to continue giving millions of students a fair shot at the American Dream.”

“This National School Choice Week, the House and Senate have renewed our commitment to parental empowerment and education freedom with this bill,” said Rep. 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.” 

“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.”

“As policymakers, we should pave the way for students to succeed—not hold them back,” said Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Foxx. “This legislation is an important tool that will help give all students the opportunity to receive an education that will allow them to thrive. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill; the more we can do to spread education freedom, the better.” 

“Educational choice is a critical way to provide the best opportunities for our students, and this bill will allow families to determine the highest quality and most suitable education for their children,” Chair Stefanik said. “This legislation can equip students in rural communities with additional supports to supplement their learning in the local school, bringing new opportunities to families that have traditionally lacked educational options. I will continue to empower parents to be able to choose what is best for their children’s education, regardless of zip code.”

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.

House cosponsors include Representatives Burgess Owens (R-UT), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rudy Yakym (R-IN), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Michelle Steel (R-CA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Rick Allen (R-GA), Mike Flood (R-NE), Russell Fry (R-SC), Erin Houchin (R-IN), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Nancy Mace (R-SC), Dan Meuser (R-PA), John Moolenaar (R-MI), John Rutherford (R-FL), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Joe Wilson (R-SC). 

Senate co-sponsors include Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Barrasso (R-WY), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Todd Young (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Katie Britt (R-AL).

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.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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