Who is responsible for the education of children? Politicians, or parents? That is the crucial civil rights question of the 21st century. Do we trust politicians more than we do parents?
What is the latest battle over this question in Virginia? Well, the Virginia General Assembly is in session. So, it is a bill, HB 521 Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits; repealing tax credit (lis.virginia.gov). Here is what that bill is about.
SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:
Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits. Repeals the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits. Any qualifying donations made prior to July 1, 2020, shall be eligible for the credit, including the ability to carry over the credit, as it was in effect on June 30, 2020. (fr0m here (lis.virginia.gov))
Why is repealing Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits a problem? HB 521 gives low-income parents a choice. When they do not believe the public school system is properly serving the need of their children, the money from this program helps these parents choose to send their children to private schools.
The Family Foundation puts it this way.
If the General Assembly passes HB 521 it will take away the best, and only, chance for certain families to move their children into an education environment where they will thrive. (from here)
The Catholic Virginian (catholicvirginian.org) observes.
If passed, HB 521 would eliminate the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits (EISTC) program, which provides funding for non-public, tuition-based education programs in Virginia though scholarships. Students enrolled in the 30 Catholic schools in the Catholic Diocese of Richmond would be affected, as this year alone, more than 1,300 children attend Catholic schools because of this program.
Without EISTC, many families would lose the opportunity to send their children to Catholic school. Virginia’s only school choice program, EISTC covers the gap between what a family can afford to pay toward tuition and the actual cost of tuition. EISTC is funded from donations to scholarship foundations approved by the Virginia Department of Education, such as the diocese’s McMahon Parater Scholarship Foundation. (from here (catholicvirginian.org))
Is School Choice just for Catholics? Is it just about choosing a Christian education for our children? Of course not! School Choice is an option for anyone who understands that government has a horrible time setting its priorities appropriately.
- Because government cannot be trusted, government-run schools cannot even teach a child a religious belief. So, government-run schools have great difficulty instilling appropriate moral values into children.
- Killing the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits program will just cost Virginia tax payer more. That is because children now going to private schools will be forced back into the public schools.
Is putting these children back into the public schools a good idea? Consider Trump’s school choice plan will help kids, and is smart politics (washingtontimes.com).
At a recent White House roundtable with students, teachers and policymakers, President Trump said that children trapped in failing government schools “would be forgotten no longer,” and urged Congress to pass his Education Freedom Scholarships proposal, which would improve education for America’s children.
Under the president’s EFS proposal, taxpayers could make voluntary contributions to scholarship-granting organizations, which would be identified and approved by states, and these organizations would give out scholarships to students that could be used for a wide variety of educational options. Taxpayers making contributions would receive a non-refundable dollar-for-dollar tax credit.
EFS would not be a top-down federal program, but would allow states to decide whether to participate and how to select eligible students, education providers and allowable education expenses. (continued here (washingtontimes.com))
At the same time our president is trying to expand School Choice, Virginia’s politicians, seeking more power over us, are trying to kill School Choice. Who benefits? Special interests. What is the biggest special interest in public education? The teachers unions.
Teachers unions have steadily amped up their political involvement: From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high. Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where our data begins.
Two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. (from here (opensecrets.org))
Like it or not, teachers unions represent teachers. That is, teachers represent the best interests of teachers. Hence, we can make all kinds of supposedly fine arguments for a public education MONOPOLY, but the bottom line is that a state education monopoly is not in the best interests of children. Except for the people who buy politicians, nobody in their right mind trusts politicians to do the right thing.
Please contact your legislators (See WHO’S MY LEGISLATOR.) and ask them to oppose HB 521. Disperse power from the General Assembly, and give it back to parents
I read the proposal impact statement. There is no mention of the added cost impact that taxpayers will have to pay if the children drop out of the private schools because they cannot afford to pay tuition and then go have no choice but to attend public schools.
The average cost in Virginia public schools is $10,900 per student multiplied by 1300 students equals $14,170,000.
Was that cost factored into the impact statement that states it will add $5.6 or 11.2 million to your State GF?
If not, King Solomon would classify your State legislators as fools in my opinion.
Regards and goodwill blogging.
That’s a good question. The way I read the impact statement is that the author of the bill just considered the cost of awarding the scholarship. According to this reference, http://jlarc.virginia.gov/pdfs/reports/Rpt472.pdf, Virginia school divisions spent $12,344 per student in 2014. The Family Foundation estimates approximate 4000 students use the program. Worst case? All those children return to the public schools. That increasing the expense by almost $50 million. So the state does not save any money. Opposite is true.
Even more sad when you discern people are paid in government huge salaries, and can not figure out a third grade math problem using addition and subtraction.
Regards and goodwill blogging