Key House GOP Leaders Introduce School Voucher Bill

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Last week, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), Chairman of the House Education Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education and father a child with a disability, introduced legislation to voucherize IDEA funds, create a pilot military voucher program and expand the D.C. voucher program. The bill’s co-sponsor is Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Caucus who also has a child with disability.

The title of the bill is the CHOICE Act, which stands for Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act and would allow states with existing voucher programs for students with disabilities to take funds distributed under IDEA and allow the federal funds to also follow students with special needs to private schools of their parents’ choice. This private school voucher legislation will divert $11 billion in taxpayer funds to private schools, fundamentally undermine the ability of students with disabilities to receive adequate educational opportunities in public schools, reduce critically important Impact Aid funding, which would hurt children of military personnel, and expand the failing DC voucher program. This bill is the House companion to legislation introduced in January in the Senate by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). Currently, the CHOICE Act in the Senate has 9 co-sponsors.

AASA was the first national organization to send a letter to the Hill outlining our specific concerns with the legislation. You can read our letter here. It’s unclear as to whether this is just a messaging bill for the election cycle or if there will be a way to move the bill to the floor before July. We will update the blog when we have more details.  We will update the blog when we have more details.

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