Alexander Amendment Would Provide 11 Million $2,100 “Scholarships for Kids”

Amendment offered to bill Senate is debating to fix No Child Left Behind

Posted on July 8, 2015

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 “This is a real answer to inequality in America: giving more children more opportunity to attend a better school.”

– Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8 – Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today offered an amendment (Click HERE for video) to the bill being debated by the Senate to fix No Child Left Behind that would allow $2,100 federal scholarships to follow 11 million low-income children to any public or private accredited school of their parents’ choice. 

“Equal opportunity in America should mean that everyone has the same starting line,” Alexander said. “There would be no better way to help children move up from the back of the line than by allowing states to use federal dollars to create 11 million new opportunities to choose a better school.”

Alexander’s amendment is based on legislation he introduced last year, called the Scholarships for Kids Act, which would redirect $24 billion, or about 40 percent of the federal dollars now directly spent on K-12 education programs.

The Senate is currently debating the Every Child Achieves Act, introduced by Alexander and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the lead Democrat on the education committee.

Alexander said today on the Senate floor: “Allowing federal dollars to follow students has been a successful strategy in American education for 70 years. Last year, $31 billion in federal Pell grants and $100 billion in loans followed students to public and private colleges. Since the GI Bill began in 1944, these vouchers have helped create a marketplace of 6,000 autonomous higher education institutions – the best in the world.

“Our elementary and secondary education system is not the best in the world.  U.S. 15-year olds rank 28th in science and 36th in math. I believe one reason for this is that while more than 93 percent of federal dollars spent for higher education follow students to colleges of their choice, federal dollars do not automatically follow K-12 students to schools of their choice.    

“Instead, money is sent directly to schools. Local government monopolies run most schools and tell most students which school to attend. There is little choice and no K-12 marketplace as there is in higher education.”

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