Monday, February 6, 2023

Congressman Proposes Turning Title Funds Into Vouchers

We already looked at one federal school voucher proposal. That one was based on Betsy DeVos's freedom scholarships, which were based on tax credit scholarships (instead of paying taxes, you can send a kid to private school). 

But that wasn't the only federal voucher plan to show its face in late January. Senator Mike Lee brought back another perennial favorite-- the Children Having Opportunities in Classrooms Everywhere Act (CHOICE). 

Lee (and his co-sponsoring buddy Senator Tuberville) is one more choicer starting from a solid premise and then carefully avoiding what follows. "Where you live should not determine your child's education," he argues, and he is 100% correct. I agree with this premise. Yet, I do not agree that it somehow leads us to "therefor, some small select group of students should be given an opportunity to take advantage of a system that has been repeatedly proven to deliver lousy education results." 

Let's not "save" just a few students, and let's not "save" them by having them waive their rights to a free and appropriate education. 

Alas, this is never where choicers are going with this point.

Lee's voucher bill is different in its plan for financing this tiny, leaky lifeboat that will only allow certain students aboard. Lee's idea is to simply redirect all the Title money.

The bill is pretty short and sweet. Here's the critical part.


(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law and to the extent permitted under State law, a State educational agency shall allocate grant funds provided under title I, subparts 2 and 3 of part B of title II, and titles III, IV, V, and VI, for the purposes of ensuring that funding under such titles follows children, to the public school the children attend or for the expenses described in section 529(c)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code of 3 1986.

The money would go to private schools and home schoolers, and as always, the bill explicitly states that "Nothing in this section shall permit, allow, encourage, or authorize Federal or State control over non-public education providers." So no telling those Nazi homeschoolers that they can't use their flat earth textbooks. 

Probably not a bill destined to accomplish much of anything other than continuing to hammer on the overton window and further normalize the notion that aid for the most vulnerable can be turned into a scythe for cutting them loose and ending government services for them. 

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