Six speakers on the first night of the Republican National Convention raised the issue of school choice, suggesting that it may become a key policy promoted by the reelection campaign of President Donald Trump.
While the issue of school choice is complex and deals with funding from local, state, and federal governments, the idea is to allow parents to decide whether to spend the tax dollars allocated to their children on a public school, private school, charter school, religious school, or homeschooling.
“I realized a quality education is the closest thing we have to magic in America. That’s why I fight to this day for school choice; to make sure every child in every neighborhood has a quality education,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said.
“I don’t care if it’s a public, private, charter, virtual, or home school. When a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance. And the president has fought alongside me on that.”
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump proposed a $20 billion school choice block grant. The Trump administration’s Department of Education subsequently proposed an Education Freedom Scholarship program to provide $5 billion in annual tax credits for people and businesses who donate to scholarship granting organizations. The organizations would then provide scholarships for families who want to send their children to a school of their choice.
“He’s even proposed education freedom scholarships to return control to parents, protect religious liberties, and empower kids to escape dangerous, low-performing schools,” said Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher from California. “The Republican platform supports educational freedom. The Democrat Party does not.”