The Educational Choice for Children Act is a House-Senate bill that aims to provide tax credits for charitable donations to expand choices in quality education. The legislation, introduced by Sens. Cassidy, Scott, Daines, and Young, and Reps. Owens and Smith, would allow individuals and businesses to receive tax credits for donations to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that provide scholarships to eligible students for attending private or religious schools, homeschooling, or other non-public educational options.
The bill’s supporters make the point that private options are often superior choices over available public schools.
“I’ve always said that when you give parents a choice, you give kids a better chance at achieving their dreams,” said Senator Scott. “By empowering families with more education resources, this bill could change the lives of millions of high-potential students who deserve every opportunity to succeed.”
The bill includes provisions that would allow SGOs to determine the amount of scholarship awards given to individual students. An estimated two million students in any elementary or secondary education setting, including homeschooling, would be eligible to receive scholarships that can cover tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment necessary for enrollment or attendance in non-public educational options.
The bill is supported by religious and educational organizations. Rabbi Abba Cohen of Agudath Israel of America said: “We encourage lawmakers, Republican and Democratic, to put a bipartisan stamp on the common-sense policy that is at the heart of this bill: assisting parents to access the learning environment and the educational benefits that are best suited for their children, and that will enhance educational achievement for all of America’s students. We call for its favorable consideration and passage by both House and Senate.”
The bill was also endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Like other private schools, religious schools fulfill a critical role in the education of our youth,” said Gene Schaerr, Protect the First general counsel. “Religious schools provide state-mandated instructional material while allowing parents to raise their children in accordance with their faith, a vital component of the free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment. The Educational Choice for Children Act would provide parents with more educational options that are consistent with their religious beliefs.”