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“We propose that students should be free to learn in ways that work for them, no matter where they pursue their education or how they learn.”

America’s students deserve freedom to choose their education options
By Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rep. Bradley Byrne
USA Today
February 28, 2019

We believe that every student deserves a great education, because we believe that every student has the innate potential to change the world, if given opportunities.

Today, too many young Americans are denied those opportunities. The numbers tell a grave story. We’re 24th in reading, 25th in science and 40th in math when compared with the rest of the world.

That’s not because our students aren’t capable of being No. 1. They are. But our government’s antiquated approach to education limits their ability to achieve their true potential.

That’s why on Thursday we are putting forward a historic investment in America’s students: the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act.

Education Freedom Scholarships would annually give hundreds of thousands of students across the country opportunities to find the right fit for their education. The program would offer a dollar-for-dollar federal income tax credit for contributions to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships for individual elementary and secondary school students. These scholarships would most benefit America’s forgotten students who would finally have opportunities to pursue the best education for them in ways that rich, powerful and connected families always have.

Every student deserves freedom and options.

We recognize that each student is unique and deserves an education personalized for them. Scholarships could help students access a whole menu of opportunities, including dual enrollment, special education services, advanced or elective courses not available in their assigned school buildings, transportation to out-of-zone opportunities, among many others. All Americans need to be equipped for successful careers, and vital workforce preparation is in high demand. That’s why students could use scholarships to access career and technical education and apprenticeships, as well.

The key element of the proposal is freedom for all involved. Eligible students, families, teachers and schools, as determined by their states — all can participate at will and any can elect not to participate if that’s the better choice for them.

The highly paid school union bosses will falsely argue that is an attack on public education. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This program won’t take a single cent from local public school teachers or public school students. In fact, some states may choose to use the scholarships to enhance and improve already existing public school options.

Our proposal only requires one thing: Students and parents must be empowered to make decisions. America’s families — not entrenched special interest groups — should decide how education dollars are spent for their own children.

Read the full op-ed here.