Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced the Children Have Opportunities in Classrooms Everywhere (CHOICE) Act to afford low-income families with K-12 students the choice to use federal education funds to pursue the best educational options for their child(ren). Sens. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) cosponsored the legislation.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was designed to create opportunities for low-income students by providing funding to increase “quality and equality” in education. ESEA is the primary source of federal aid for K-12 education.
The federal government spends more than $20 billion annually through ESEA. Decades of evidence show that Title I funding through the ESEA has failed to improve academic outcomes or opportunities for low-income students.
Sen. Lee’s bill would allow eligible families to have ESEA funds directed to their child’s public school or deposited into a 529 education savings account for a private school, virtual learning, tutoring, homeschooling curriculums, therapy services, and more.
Of the bill, Sen. Lee said, “Children desperately need every resource at their disposal to attain educational success. My bill ensures that federal K-12 funding goes directly to the student, cutting out the bureaucratic middle-man that has inflated education costs and hindered academic success for far too long. It’s clear that our one-size-fits-all approach has failed. Empowering parents is the best way to give our nation’s children the best education possible.”
Of the bill, Ryan Walker, Vice President of Government Relations at Heritage Action said, “For years, many working-class families have had no choice but to send their children to the public school they have been zoned for, regardless of the quality of education it provides. The past few years have magnified this problem, as the Biden Administration and other Democrats insisted on indoctrinating our kids and waged a battle against parents for being involved in education choices. Senator Lee’s CHOICE Act puts these students first by giving families the opportunity to decide what education option works best for them.”
Of the bill, Parents Defending Education Action released the following statement: “Education choice is fundamentally a parental rights issue. PDE Action firmly believes that all parents—regardless of their socioeconomic status—have the right to make the best educational decisions for their children. Today, we are proud to announce our support for Senator Mike Lee’s “Children Have Opportunities in Classrooms Everywhere” (CHOICE) Act.”