U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, has introduced a bill to expand school choice to more families through a new federal tax credit.
The Educational Opportunities Act, H.R. 1381, and its Senate companion, S. 297, introduced by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, allows individuals and corporations to contribute to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) that award scholarships to needy students to defray the cost of attending private schools.
"For too long, bureaucrats and power brokers in Washington, D.C., have kept millions of families from accessing a full range of education options. The hardest-hit victims have been those trapped in failing school systems who don't have the means to choose another school. This bill returns power to where it belongs -- to parents and families -- and gives them a ladder of opportunity. And it does this not by spending more money that we don't have, but by encouraging private citizens and businesses to step up and make these scholarships possible.
"Once again, Indiana has helped lead the way with innovative reforms at the state level. Our Scholarship Tax Credit program has helped thousands of students from low- and middle-income families to attend the schools of their choice. The Educational Opportunities Act uses a similar concept at the federal level to expand school choice to millions of American families," said Rokita.
The Educational Opportunities Act creates an individual federal tax credit of up to $4,500 and a corporate credit of up to $100,000 for donations to qualifying, non-profit SGOs. Schools are required to administer standardized tests to scholarship recipients, and data on school performance must be reported to parents and SGOs. The bill also requires an annual evaluation and report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Education analyzing school retention rates, high school graduation rates and college admission rates.
Original cosponsors of H.R. 1381 are U.S. Reps. Tom Cole (OK-4), Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Trent Franks (AZ-8), Andy Harris (MD-1), Doug LaMalfa (CA-1), Luke Messer (IN-6), Robert Pittenger (NC-9) and Joe Pitts (PA-16).