Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced legislation today to help families pay for more school options through a new tax credit. The Educational Opportunities Act creates a federal corporate and individual tax credit to promote school choice by allowing contributions to go to Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that will distribute scholarships to a student to be used toward private school tuition or expenses related to attending a private school.
"Education plays a central role in the 21st century knowledge economy", said Senator Rubio. "If we want our children to thrive economically, we need to equip students and families with the tools they need to succeed and make it in the middle class and beyond. Parental school choice is a critical piece in this, which is why I introduced the Educational Opportunities Act. This bill will incentivize investment in students and empower parents and K-12 students by allowing more educational opportunities, especially in low-income households that would otherwise not be able to afford it. It's the kind of incentive that will help improve education in America and prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, without additional burdens on the American taxpayer."
The Educational Opportunities Act is the first bill Senator Rubio has introduced in the 113th Congress, and is part of an effort to help build a 21st century middle class, as discussed in his speech last December at the Jack Kemp Foundation Dinner. In order to provide tax encouragement to help parents pay for the school of their choice, the bill creates a corporate and individual federal tax credit to go toward a qualifying, non-profit 501(c)(3) Education Scholarship Organization, so that students from low income families can receive a scholarship to pay for the cost of a private education of their parents choosing.
WHAT THE EDUCATION COMMUNITY IS SAYING ABOUT THE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ACT:
Former Governor Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education: "Parents across the nation are struggling now more than ever and few can afford to pay for the tuition or education services their child deserves. Choosing your child's school is as fundamental as choosing which doctor's office is best for your child and this legislation will help make that choice more affordable to more parents."
Kenneth Campbell, President of the Black Alliance For Educational Options: "The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) was founded based on the belief that all children, despite their family's income, should have access to a quality education. We wake up every day with the knowledge that too many of our children are in crisis, therefore we fight every day to ensure that low-income and working class Black parents have both the freedom and the power to chose where and how their children are educated. The Educational Opportunities Act proposed by Senator Marco Rubio has the potential to allow tens of thousands of children across this country to access an education that would otherwise be unavailable to them. We applaud the Senator for taking this bold step and we are hopeful that our nation's elected officials will see this bill as an opportunity to help our most vulnerable children and not allow partisan politics or ideologies to prohibit this bill from moving forward."
Julio Fuentes, President of Hispanic Council For Reform and Educational Options: "Sen. Rubio's bill would move the country a long way towards leveling the playing field for Hispanic students and families. We know the achievement gaps for minority students have been too heartbreakingly wide for too long. We know the expansion of parental school choice is another tool we can thoughtfully use to narrow them. A federal tax credit scholarship program will give students around the nation more options to excel regardless of their zip code or their socioeconomic background."
Rabbi David Zwiebel, Esq., Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel of America: "Agudath Israel applauds Sen. Marco Rubio for his bold move to increase parental school choice options for low-income families nationwide. Jewish day school families, among many others, will be able to use this scholarship program to better give their children the access they deserve to a high quality education. Our children, our communities, our democracy and our nation will all be the better for it. We encourage lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, to put a bipartisan stamp on the common-sense issue that is at the heart of this bill: the ability of parents to choose the learning environment that is the best fit for their child."
Kevin P. Chavous, former D.C. City Councilman and current Executive Counsel for the American Federation For Children: "We are grateful that Senator Rubio has introduced a bill to help children access a great education, regardless of their zip code. At a time when our nation continues to have a tragically high dropout rate and millions of kids remain trapped in traditional schools that do not work for them, we must have the courage to put all options on the table - options we know work for disadvantaged kids. Senator Rubio understands that every child matters and we applaud his leadership and commitment to helping these kids."