Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican lawmakers have announced a proposed tax credit that would go toward donations to private school scholarships and other school choice initiatives.
“A great education shouldn’t be determined by luck, or by address or by family income,” DeVos said Thursday at a news conference.
She appeared alongside Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., who said they plan to introduce the tax credit in Congress.
According to DeVos, states could choose whether or not they wanted to participate in the initiative. (Many states already have programs on the books that grant tax breaks to residents who donate to scholarship programs.)
It seems unlikely the new legislation will make it through the now Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
DeVos has long been a staunch supporter of school choice, including charter schools and vouchers to help families pay for private schools. She previously led the American Federation for Children, which advocates for school choice.
In his State of the Union address earlier this year, President Trump said, “The time has come to pass school choice for American children.” It was his only mention of education besides a passing reference to “overburdened schools.”
Teachers across the country have gone on strike over the past year, and many have expressed concern over charter school growth. In Los Angeles, where teachers picketed for six days in January, strikers said they were tired of competing with charter schools for students and funding.
It’s also an issue in West Virginia, where teachers went on strike in mid-February to protest a bill that would have paved the way for charter schools and private school vouchers in the state.
On Thursday, teachers in Oakland, Calif., began their sixth day of a strike; they’re asking for more restrictions on charter schools, among other things.