Posted on July 22, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Congressional School Choice Caucus co-chair, introduced the School Choice Now Act – legislation that ensures all students will return to their pre-pandemic educational institutions. Senator Scott was joined by Senate Education Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN).
"Growing up in a single-parent household in a distressed neighborhood, I fully understand what it means to be overlooked and underserved. As a supporter of School Choice legislation, I am a firm believer that a child’s zip code should not dictate his or her access to quality education nor define the child’s future," said Senator Tim Scott. “We must ensure that all children have access to the necessary resources and opportunities – education included – to live a successful life. I’m thankful for the support of Chairman Alexander and hope that my colleagues will support our nation’s most vulnerable youth by passing this legislation."
"All parents, regardless of income or circumstance, should be able to decide which school best meets their child’s needs, whether that school is public or private," Alexander said. "The School Choice Now Act provides scholarships to students to have the opportunity to return to the private school they attended before the pandemic—and gives other students a new opportunity to attend private school."
"Children in all K-12 schools, public and private, have been affected by COVID-19," Alexander continued. "Many schools are choosing not to reopen and many schools are failing to provide high-quality distance learning. The students who will suffer from this experience the most are the children from lower income families. This bill will give families more options for their children’s education at a time that school is more important than ever."
The School Choice Now Act, if passed, would:
- Provide one-time, emergency appropriations funding for scholarship-granting organizations in each state
- Scholarship-granting organizations would be authorized to use the one-time funding to provide families with direct educational assistance, including private school tuition and home-schooling expenses
- Parents could choose the academic instruction that works best for their child
- Provide permanent dollar-for-dollar federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations, capped at $5 billion per year
- Allow states to create their own tax credit scholarship program that works for the unique needs of students in their state
- Prohibit federal control of education to ensure that all education providers may be able to participate without fear of federal control
Senator Scott has been a longtime champion of smart, common-sense education policy that puts students and families first. In conjunction with National School Choice Week and his Opportunity Agenda, Senator Scott introduced the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities Through Education Act, or the CHOICE Act. The CHOICE Act would give military families, families of students with disabilities, and low-income students in Washington, D.C.—together totaling more than 6.2 million students nationwide—access to greater educational opportunity.
Senator Scott and Chairman Alexander will be releasing a joint video this week on the importance of the School Choice Now legislation.
Full text of the bill is available HERE.