The White House plans to ask Congress to earmark money in the next stimulus bill for scholarship programs for private and religious schools, which the administration is promoting as a way to help families affected by COVID-19 pay their children’s tuition this fall.
President Donald Trump will ask for a “one-time, emergency appropriation” for a new grant proposal, according to an outline of the plan obtained by McClatchy. The grants would be provided to states to distribute to nonprofit institutions that disburse scholarships to qualified students who want to attend non-public schools.
The White House is seeking to have 10% of the amount that Congress approves for state and local educational agencies set aside for the grants. Trump will also seek approval of $5 billion in federal tax credits for businesses and individuals who donate to the scholarship programs.
Draft legislation that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadowshad ordered drawn up, according to the plan outline, would give every state the option of receiving federal funding for the scholarships if they choose to participate in the “Education Freedom Grant” program the Trump administration is proposing.
The proposal stipulates that states with existing tax-credit scholarship programs must give 50% of the grant funds to scholarship organizations within 30 days of receiving them. States that do not have established programs will have 60 days to distribute the money. States that have not distributed the money by March 30, 2021 will have their funding reallocated to states that do participate in the program.
Scholarship organizations will be allowed to spend up to 5% of the grants they receive to market the programs and pay for administrative expenses, the outline says.
The White House is also seeking to create a nonrefundable federal tax credit for taxpayers who voluntarily donate to the scholarship providers.
Vice President Mike Pence at an education roundtable in Wisconsin last week said that the administration was “working on a new program that would make more than $5 billion available across the country” while talking about the proposed federal tax credit for donations to the scholarship programs.
“We really believe school choice is an idea whose time has come,” Pence said in his remarks. Parents should be able to choose where their children go to school “regardless of their area code or income,” he said.
The White House presented its plan to Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., last month and plans to seek support from Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill. McConnell’s office declined to comment.
Democrats argue that public funds should be spent improving public schools and should not be used to subsidize private institutions, including those with religious affiliations.
“We’re focused on reversing our chronic underfunding of public education so that all students – regardless of their background – can learn in public schools that are healthy, safe, and provide a quality education,” he said.
There is more at the link above. This continues the long attempt to destroy public schools and to push the country deeper into a theocracy. Every step made to accommodate religion in government, to give government money to religious institutions undermines the secular democracy of the country. Plus I notice that all the religions that benefit from these laws, all the laws requiring god in pubic schools only mention the Christian god. I wonder how many non-Christian schools will get this taxpayer money. One last thing. Christians love to play the victim, but in these cases they are taking taxpayer money but discriminate against some of the very taxpayers that money comes from. LGBTQ people have to see their tax money go to organizations that discriminate and demonize them. In a secular country. Give religion a dollar, and they want the entire treasury. Hugs