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On Friday, FreedomWorks led a coalition letter to House and Senate Republican leadership and the White House from 12 state and national policy organizations as well as nearly two dozen state legislators and candidates nationwide expressing the need for Congress and the administration to bypass half-measures of school choice in favor of instead putting dollars in the hands of families now. Put simply, any educational relief -- new or existing -- should be funneled directly to families instead of channeled into systems. The text of the letter and signers can be found below. A PDF of the letter is available here.
Dear President Trump, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader McCarthy,
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, representing millions of Americans nationwide, thank you in Congress and in the administration for turning close attention to the students, parents, and families who are hurting due to lack of educational choice, especially so during this COVID-19 crisis. School closures are leaving the most vulnerable, underserved families and children of our country to fend for themselves, forcing them to make financial sacrifices to the detriment of their lives, all because government barriers to educational choice prevent access to alternatives.
Congress and the administration can help solve this education crisis and answer the cries from parents by putting any new or already-existing federal education funds directly in the hands of families, empowering them to choose the best option for their child and family. Thus far, the main responses from policymakers have focused on institutions, not families. As families scramble to find solutions that work for their individual circumstances, politicians should ensure children can continue learning in whatever way fits their unique needs. While well-intentioned, the school choice proposals previously put forth, including grants to states and tax credits, do not offer the real and immediate relief that families need now.
At such a time as this, bureaucracy and half-measures must be put aside and any relief, new or existing, should be funneled directly to families. Instead of channeling money into systems, parents need full access to funds that would allow them to seek out education for their children in alternative settings. Existing legislation in this vein includes Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) and Rep. Chip Roy’s (R-Texas) SCHOOL Act, S. 4432 and H.R. 8054, for existing funds, as well as Section 2 of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) Coronavirus Emergency Education Grants Act, S. 4505.
Importantly, the federal government can and should -- within its proper scope -- set a good example for states and localities on policy matters and on governance style. Funding students instead of systems would encourage those states and localities across our country to do the same. While the landscape going forward legislatively is uncertain in terms of what packages or bills may come to the floor, this is largely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
Champions of school choice should use their wisdom and political know-how to ensure that any further involvement of the federal government in education works for the good of parents and students, by answering the cry from families nationwide for true school choice: Dollars to families, not to systems, with as little bureaucracy as possible. We stand ready to help.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks
David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Lisa Nelson, CEO, ALEC Action
Patrick Purtill, Director of Legislative Affairs, Faith & Freedom Coalition
Cliff Maloney, President, Young Americans for Liberty
Brent Wm. Gardner, Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity
Daniel Garza, President, The Libre Initiative
James Taylor, President, Heartland Institute
Thomas Davis, President, Commonwealth Educational Opportunities
Aaron Baer, President, Citizens for Community Values
Averel Meden, Executive Director, Ohio Christian Education Network
Ronald M. Nate, Senior Fellow and Board Chairman, Madison Liberty Institute/Spark Freedom
Angela Humphries, Activist, North Carolina School Choice
Rep. David Eastman - Alaska
Rep. Mike Hill - Florida
Rep. Anthony Sabatini - Florida
Rep. Chad Christensen - Idaho
Rep. Jeff Shipley - Iowa
Rep. Julie Emerson - Louisiana
Rep. Dana Criswell - Mississippi
Rep. Cal Bahr - Minnesota
Rep. Alan Bershtein - New Hampshire
Rep. Jess Edwards - New Hampshire
Rep. Mike Sylvia - New Hampshire
Rep. Daniel Johnston - North Dakota
Sen. Nathan Dahm - Oklahoma
Rep. David Rowe - Pennsylvania
Del. Mark Cole - Virginia
State and Local Candidates
Adam Niemerg - Illinois (House)
Aaron Yates - Kentucky (House)
Felicia Rabourn - Kentucky (House)
Brian Seitz - Missouri (House)
RJ May - South Carolina (House)
Deborah Prickett - North Carolina (School Board)
Greg Hahn - North Carolina (School Board)