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Sens. Cruz, Scott Introduce CHOICE Act to Increase Educational Options for American Families and Students

January 29, 2021

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), during this National School Choice Week, introduced the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education Act (CHOICE Act). The CHOICE Act will expand opportunities and foster success by providing parents greater options when it comes to their child's education. The senators were joined by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Upon introduction, Sen. Cruz said:

"Far too many students are being left behind in our education system - especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force children and their parents to navigate a virtual learning environment. I have long fought for greater educational freedom for all Americans, and I am honored to join Sen. Scott in empowering families with greater access to a quality education during this National School Choice Week."

Sen. Tim Scott said:

"As the product of a poor, single-parent household, I have always been a champion of school choice. And as the coronavirus pandemic has shown us, the need for educational options is more vital today than ever before. The sad reality is too many students lack access to a quality education because of their zip code, and that is simply unacceptable. Commonsense solutions like my CHOICE Act will empower families to choose the best schools for their children and put parents in charge."

Sen. Rubio said:

"American students' potential should not be limited by the zip code their family can afford to live in. I am proud to partner with Senator Scott to empower and enable families to choose education options that best suit the unique needs of their children."

Sen. Sasse said:

"When moms and dads go to bat for their kids, we've got to have their backs. With roughly one-third of school districts offering virtual-only learning, families need the opportunity to seek out educational options that work best for their kids. Parents with children who have disabilities need the flexibility to customize their kids' education to provide the best educational and social support. That's what our bill does. These kids deserve the best - and school choice gives them a chance to meet their needs."

Sen. Wicker said:

"Students and parents everywhere deserve a choice in education. I am glad to join Senator Tim Scott to introduce the CHOICE Act, which will help give parents of students with special needs and those who live on military bases more options for learning."

Sen. Cornyn said:

"Parents, not the government, should be making educational decisions for their children. A good education helps lay the foundation for future success, and this legislation would empower families, particularly those with children with special needs, to help ensure their children have access to a quality education that works best for them."

Sen. Rick Scott added:

"Every child learns differently, and every family deserves the chance to choose an education that best meets the needs of their child and ensures they have the opportunity to succeed. Throughout my time as Governor of Florida and now as Senator, I've worked to make our state a national leader in school choice, and I'm proud to join Senator Tim Scott and my colleagues to build on these efforts with the CHOICE Act."

Read the full text of the bill here.

Background:

  • This legislation would support parents by eliminating barriers to seek the information necessary to determine a best-fit school that can effectively serve their child's needs;
  • Expands school choice programs by permitting states that have established programs for parents of disabled children to use public or private funds for the cost of their children attending a private school to supplement those funds with federal special education funds;
  • Authorizes grants to support the design and initial implementation of state programs that allow the parents of a disabled child to choose the appropriate public or private school for their child;
  • Establishes a five-year pilot program, within the Department of Defense, to award scholarships that enable military dependent students, who live on military installations, to attend the public or private elementary or secondary schools their parents choose.

 

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